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AK: Appeals court affirms conviction for illegally guiding hunt

Appeals court affirms conviction for illegally guiding hunt

09/09/09

A Kodiak man convicted of illegally guiding a hunting party in 2006 and who appealed his case has been re-sentenced to serve 30 days in jail and pay $7,000 in fines, according to the state Office of Special Prosecutions.

Randy Blondin, 51, also had his assistant guide's license revoked for two years and was put on informal probation for five years, according to prosecutors. He will also be prohibited from reapplying for the license for another three.

Blondin was convicted of a number of guiding and transporting violations in a case that represented the first prosecution in Alaska in which a saltwater-based transporter was convicted of illegally remaining in the field with a client, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson said.

During the 2006 hunt, Blondin spent time in the field as an employee of his wife's business, Kodiak Charters in Larsen Bay, actively pursuing Sitka black-tailed deer on his clients' behalf by drifting along Harvester Island. As a transporter, he was only legally allowed to move the clients between locations, Peterson said.

A number of clients from Texas and Mexico were on the hunt, but prosecutors focused on Blondin's interactions with two nonresident hunters who were involved, Peterson said.

Blondin was originally sentenced to serve 30 days in jail and to pay $8,000 in fines. He appealed the decision on a number of grounds, including that the jury verdicts against him were inconsistent.

The Alaska Court of Appeals merged two convictions for guiding a hunt without proper supervision but let the remaining convictions stand, Peterson said.

His wife, Terri Blondin, previously pleaded no contest to charges of theft, misapplication of funds and failure to transmit funds and was ordered to pay $7,300 for hunting and fishing fees as well as to pay a $2,000 fine.

Peterson said the case is significant because Alaska has seen an increase in the number of saltwater-based transporters offering hunts for black bears.

"While the transporters are not legally allowed to spot game, they will oftentimes motor along the beach slowly allowing the clients to look for bears as opposed to simply motoring to a destination to drop off their clients," Peterson said in an e-mail. "The ruling in Blondin makes it clear that such activity is illegal and can be prosecuted.".

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