Slap on the Wrist Punishment for Men Who Illegally Killed Hibernating Bear

A conservation study camera catches heartless father and son poachers illegally killing a hibernating bear and her two cubs at point-blank range, high-fiving in celebration, leaving animal-rights activists outraged after a judge hands down a lenient sentence.


The video is readily found on the Internet, but be forewarned that the sickening footage is not for the faint of heart, especially animal lovers.

A father and son killed a mother bear and her two cubs that were under a conservation study in an area where killing “a denning bear and her cubs was illegal,” according to a statement by the Humane Society of the United States, which also called the action a “complete disregard for the lives they are taking” and “reprehensible.”

Father and son kill bears at point-blank range

The video was released this week, and it shows Andrew Renner, 41, and his son, Owen Renner, now 18 (but a minor at the time), shooting the bear sow and cubs at point-blank range as they slept in their den on Alaska’s Esther Island in Prince William Sound in April 2018.

After the son killed the sow bear, the cubs can be heard shrieking, then the father fired point-blank into the den, killing both cubs.

The men then butchered the mother bear, placed the remains in bags, then skied away from the area.

Poachers: “They’ll never link it back to us.” Animals were being observed.

The father and son poachers were unaware that the sow bear and her cubs were being observed by a hidden camera as part of the research study being conducted by the US Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The mother bear had also been outfitted with a Fish and Game tracking collar.

But when poachers approached the bears, they triggered the motion-activated camera set outside the den, which captured their activities. After killing the cubs, Owen says to his father, “They’ll never be able to link it to us.”

The father and son then trade high-fives, their hands covered in blood from the bears. The son followed up by saying to his father, “You and me don’t f*ck around, we pretty much, we go where we want to kill sh*t.”

Afterward, father and son took the hide of the mother bear, and lied to Fish and Game authorities about where they had shot the bear, also saying the sow had no cubs.

Two days later, the video captured the father and son returning to the den, where they placed the cubs’ bodies in bags and collected their shell casings.

“I gotta go in the den and make sure there’s no little parts, right?” The video captured the father saying.

Slap on the wrist punishment

What has infuriated Animal-rights activists to the point of outrage, is the lenient sentence handed down by a judge, which many are calling a “slap on the wrist punishment” that they believe doesn’t fit the crime for killing a protected sow bear and her cubs.

Andrew and Owen Renner were charged with unlawfully taking a female bear with cubs, two charges of unlawfully taking cubs, and possessing and transporting illegally taken game. Further, Andrew was charged with tampering evidence, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and second-degree falsification.

Andrew Renner was sentenced to five months in jail, however with two months suspended, therefore only three months. In addition, he was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine, but with $11,000 suspended, thus $9000.

Additionally, his hunting license was revoked for 10 years. He also was ordered to forfeit his 22’ Sea Sport ocean boat and trailer, 2012 GMC Sierra pickup truck, two rifles, two handguns, two iPhones, and two sets of skis which were used in the offenses.

Owen Renner, because he was a minor at the time, was sentenced to suspended jail time, community service and was required to take a hunter’s safety course, as well as, having his hunting license suspended for two years.

Additionally, Andrew and Owen were both ordered to pay $1,800 as restitution, which is an amount set by state statute for illegally killing black bears.