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Alaska wildlife chief charged with hunting violations for 2008 bear hunt

January 13, 2012

By Kyle Hopkins and Richard Mauer, BellinghamHerald.com

A top official in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game quit his job Thursday after being charged with 12 criminal hunting violations, state officials said.

The charges against Division of Wildlife Conservation Director Corey Rossi, a controversial 2010 appointment, are related to an illegal 2008 bear hunt, according to Alaska State Troopers and charges filed Thursday in state court.

Troopers say the division director lied on big game hunting reports. He was a licensed assistant big game guide at the time, according to troopers.

Rossi, 51, submitted his resignation on Thursday, according an email from Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell.

In a report posted Thursday afternoon, troopers say Rossi aided two non- residents in the killing of three black bears in Game Management Unit 16B, in the Susitna Valley. Rossi also killed a bear himself during the same hunt, troopers say.

But Rossi lied on reports to the state, saying that he killed all four bears and that the out-of-state hunters were unsuccessful, according to troopers.

The troopers Wildlife Investigations Unit in Anchorage learned of the illegal bear hunt on Nov. 22, 2010, from an out-of-state law enforcement agency, the charges say. The agency, which is not named in the charges, was investigating possible illegal hunting in Alaska.

Robert "Bruce" Hubbard of Utah admitted to killing two black bears in Alaska while hunting with Corey Rossi and Duane Stroupe of Oregon, the charges say.

Under Alaska law, hunters must "seal" the skins and skulls of the black bears they kill. Rossi sealed four black bears at a taxidermy business in Anchorage on June 12, 2008, according to Fish and Game records, the charges say. Rossi reported that he killed all four, using bait, on June 10, 2008.

Troopers and other agencies conducted multiple interviews last month in Alaska, Oregon and Utah. Rossi admitted to sealing the bears under his name, even though he did not kill all four of the animals, the charges say.

Rossi is accused of:

A permit hunt report violation.

Three counts of making false statements on a black bear sealing certificate.

Two counts of unsworn falsification.

Unlawful possession of an illegally taken bear.

He also is charged with five counts of unlawful acts by an assistant big game guide.

All are misdemeanors.

Campbell has named Dale Rabe, Conservation Division Operations Manager, as his interim replacement, according to a Fish and Game spokeswoman.

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