Friday, January 29, 2016

Anaheim Ducks' Clayton Stoner hit with hunting ban for killing grizzly bear

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner has been banned from hunting for three years and fined $10,000 for killing a grizzly bear on British Columbia’s central coast nearly three years ago.

Stoner acknowledged through his lawyer Wednesday that he had breached the provincial Wildlife Act during the hunt in May 2013. Lawyer Marvin Stern said his client mistakenly believed he was qualified to participate as a resident.

The hockey star wasn’t in the Abbotsford courtroom, but Stern pleaded guilty on Stoner's behalf to hunting without a license. Provincial court Judge Brent Hoy accepted that Stoner thought he was qualified as a resident, but the law had still been breached.

“If one hunts, then one must do so responsibility,” he said.

Stoner, who was with the Minnesota Wild at the time, had been widely criticized by animal rights groups after pictures of the NHL player holding the severed head and paws of the bear were made public.

But the bigger issue to many wildlife and nature advocates was hunting in general.

The incident had reignited passions over the hunting issue that has long divided British Columbia. The provincial government hands out 300 licenses each year and hunting generates more than $300-million in annual revenue for the state.

The government did drop four other charges against Stoner, including knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license, hunting out of season and unlawfully possessing dead wildlife.

Stoner, who’s originally from Port McNeill on Vancouver Island, owns a home in Langford, B.C. To obtain a commercial trophy license, a hunter must reside in B.C. for at least half of each of six months in the previous year.

“For an NHL player ... they’re going to be out of the province for at least seven months,” Cryder told the court. “He hasn’t, in fact, qualified as a resident.”

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