kipnuk man pleads guilty to and sentenced for hunting violations
Anchorage, Alaska – A Kipnuk hunter was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage to pay a $500 fine and abandon all lead shot, for one count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and one count of violating the National Wildlife Refuge Act.
United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that Arthur Gunlik, Jr., a resident of Kipnuk, Alaska, pled guilty before, and was sentenced by, United States Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith.
During court proceedings, Gunlik admitted that, while hunting spring waterfowl on May 4, 2010, he used lead shot to take waterfowl in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and interfered with the law enforcement officers by providing false information to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Officers in violation of the National Wildlife Refuge Act. The incidents occurred on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, near Kipnuk.
The use of lead shot has been banned from waterfowl hunting since 1991. Lead is a known toxin to both humans and waterfowl and a known cause of decline in several species of waterfowl including eider ducks, a threatened species in Alaska. For over a decade, communities in the Yukon Delta Region have supported the ban on using lead shot to take waterfowl through participation in the Yukon Delta Goose Management Plan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge have instituted outreach programs in order to instruct hunters about both the illegality of lead shot and the risks it poses to both waterfowl and to individuals who consume affected birds.
Stan Pruszenski, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement in Alaska said, “We are pleased that steel shot compliance rates among spring waterfowl hunters in Western Alaska are generally high. The Office of Law Enforcement takes the continued use of lead shot, and lying to law enforcement officers very seriously. The US Fish and Wildlife Service will continue working with communities and businesses in the Yukon Delta in order to ensure the continued decline of lead shot use which is so harmful to wildlife and subsistence users.”
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service led the investigation of this case with assistance from officers of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.