AK: Alaska reality TV star Jim West charged with 17 hunting violations
November 16, 2013
JIm West, star of the Alaska reality television show “Wild West
Alaska," finds himself in trouble with state wildlife
authorities with their own reality TV show to promote -- "Alaska
West has been charged with 17 hunting
violations, including trespassing on Alaska Native lands while
guiding a black bear hunt. His attorney has questioned whether
troopers might have busted him to boost their TV ratings.
2011, authorities say, a Glennallen-based Alaska State Wildlife
Trooper was tipped that West might be hunting bear at bait stations
located on private lands owned by Ahtna Inc.
investigation led to illegal acts dating back to 2009, according to
Troopers allege that West, while working as a big
game guide that year, unlawfully guided a hunt on federal lands
within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. It is
legal to hunt in the preserve portion of the 13.2-million-acre
federal reserve bigger than the nation of Switzerland, but
authorities say West lacked the necessary concession permit to guide
Then in 2011, and again in 2012, they charged
that he trespassed on the Native-owned lands within the Cooper River
Valley while guiding black bear hunters. West was at one of his
registered bear bait sites, illegally placed on private lands, when
a client killed a black bear, according to authorities. That is a
violation of state guiding statutes, as is the failure to remove
bear bait stations at the end of the hunting season. Authorities
claim West failed to do that.
West faces a total of 17
charges in connection with various bear hunts. The charges were
filed Thursday in Glennallen District Court. They include
accusations of hunting on private land, taking game with a client in
the field and making false statements on a bear-sealing certificate.
Many of the charges carry a maximum penalty of a year in jail.
Fines can go up to $30,000 on some counts, but it is virtually
unheard of for anyone to get hit with maximum penalties in an
illegal hunting case in Alaska.
Worse than the threat of
fines and jail might be the seizure of West’s Cessna 185
single-engine airplane. Most such planes are worth upwards of
$100,000, and Cole said the seizure of West's plane happened in
August, just days before he planned to use the aircraft for hunting
and his TV show.
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