A judge in Alaska has ordered jail time for a man who skied with his son to a bear den, where they killed a mother bear and her two cubs, unaware that a research camera was recording them.
Andrew Renner was sentenced Tuesday to three months in jail while his 18-year-old son Owen Renner received 30 days of suspended time in connection with the April killings.
The Renners didn’t know until later that the killings were caught on video by a motion-activated camera set up as part of a wildlife observation program.
Prosecutors say the men pleaded guilty to multiple counts, including illegal killing of the bears.
The father and son were out skiing together on April 14 when they approached the inhabited den, Alaska Wildlife Troopers said in a statement last August.
The video captures Owen Renner firing two rounds at the adult bear inside her den, the troopers said. Andrew Renner then killed the “shrieking” newborn cubs and discarded their bodies outside the den, the statement said.
Court documents say that Andrew Renner is captured on video saying: “It doesn’t matter. Bear down.”
The men also removed the adult bear’s tracking collar.
“They’ll never be able to link it to us,” Owen Renner said, according to the court documents.
Two days later, the men were captured on video returning to the den to pick up shells casings and dispose of the bear cubs, troopers said.
Two weeks later, on April 30, Andrew Renner brought the adult bear’s skin and tracking collar to officials at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, saying that he realized after shooting it that it was a nursing bear and had not seen any cubs.
Andrew Renner’s attorney, Scott Sterling, declined comment Wednesday. An attorney for Owen Renner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.