A father and son were caught on video killing a black bear and her cubs in Alaska, according to police.
The two skied to a remote bear den on an Alaska island, laid waste to a mother bear in front of her two cubs before turning the rifle on them in a display of reckless savagery, authorities said on Wednesday (August 8).
The men claim they didn’t know the black bears were part of an observation programme nor did they know the slaughter was caught on video by a camera outside the den.
Andrew Renner, 41, and son Owen Renner, 18, have since been charged with multiple counts, including the illegal killing of a bear and both cubs. It’s illegal to kill black bear cubs or sows with cubs in most of Alaska, according to state law.
The camera that captured the shocking video was placed on Esther Island in Prince William Sound as part of a bear study by the US Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
TIME report it was later obtained by troopers containing multiple 30-second video clips. The clips from April 14 show Andrew and Owen Renner approaching the den and noticing the female bear, court documents say.
Owen Renner shoulders a rifle and fires as least two shots at the bear. Cubs begin shrieking in the den after the initial shots are fired. The defendants listen for several minutes and eventually realise that it is not the dead sow, but the orphaned cubs, making the sounds.
The defendants then move closer to the den where Andrew Renner takes aim through his rifle scope only feet away and fires several more shots, killing the newborn bear cubs.
In a moment of emotionless bravado, the camera then catches the older Renner saying, ‘It doesn’t matter. Bear down.’ The father and son then drag the mother bear from the den and realise it has a Fish and Game collar.
The document states:
Undeterred, Andrew Renner states, ‘I’m gonna get rid of these guys’ while tossing the cubs’ limp carcasses onto the snow outside the den.’
The court papers say:
In another video clip, the younger Renner says, ‘We got the collar off.’ Andrew Renner says, ‘We’re gonna skin it that way,’” and points away from the den. Owen Renner agrees, saying, ‘They’ll never be able to link it to us.’ They proceed to butcher the sow and place it in game bags, then ski away.
Further video shows the Renners returning two days later to retrieve the collar and talk about getting rid of the cubs.
‘I gotta go in the den and make sure there aren’t any little parts,’ one of them says.
They then place the cubs’ bodies in a bag and ski away. Later, Andrew Renner took a black bear sow to a state wildlife office on April 30, saying he and his son had killed it near Granite Bay in Prince William Sound on April 14.
Troopers interviewed Renner, who said he skinned the bear and brought the collar in. He said he had no knowledge of the sow having cubs and no cubs were in the area.
Authorities say Renner also ‘falsified documentation about killing the animal’ when it was his son who did so and failed to consider the number of illegally-killed bears.
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