NHL Defenceman Clayton Stoner Guilty In Illegal Bear Hunting Case

Anaheim ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner.

By Red Power Media, Staff

Clayton Stoner guilty in connection to illegal grizzly bear hunt in B.C.

NHL defenceman Clayton Stoner has been fined $10,000 for hunting a grizzly bear without a proper licence.

Of that amount, $6,000 will be assigned as a contribution to habitat conservation. He has also been prohibited from hunting for three years.

On Wednesday, Stoner, 30, who plays for the Anaheim Ducks, appeared in an Abbotsford, B.C. court to face one charge under the provincial Wildlife Act involving the bear hunt in May 2013.

His lawyer entered the plea on his behalf.

The Crown dropped four other charges against him, including knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting licence, hunting out of season, and unlawfully possessing dead wildlife.

Stoner initially defended his hunting trip with his father, an uncle and a friend, but a case was mounted against him after an investigation by B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service.

The service announced five charges in September, explaining Stoner did not meet residency requirements for the provincial hunt when he played for the Minnesota Wild.

Stoner applied for his hunting licence in his hometown of Port McNeill, on Vancouver Island, according to court records.

But the address he provided was not his primary residence, which the Wildlife Act stipulates must be in B.C., Det. Sgt. Cynthia Mann said in a statement when the charges were made public.

Mann also said a hunter must be living in the province for six of the 12 months preceding the spring grizzly hunt, which was not the situation in Stoner’s case.

Stoner’s kill sparked angry debate in September 2013 when photos were published in a Vancouver newspaper showing him holding up the grizzly’s severed head.

Clayton Stoner, defenseman for Minnesota Wild ice hockey team, posted the photograph of him brandishing the grizzly trophy after a hunting trip last May.

Clayton Stoner, NHL defenseman posted the photograph of him brandishing the grizzly trophy after his hunting trip.

A First Nations group also screened a documentary in Vancouver featuring the pictures, which were taken by a Heiltsuk Nation field technician who confronted Stoner after the kill.

Jess Housty, a tribal councillor with the First Nation based in Bella Bella, has said Stoner boasted about the animal he had shot and showed off the paws and head.

But Stoner claimed at the time to have the necessary permits and licences. He also released a public statement saying he grew up hunting and fishing in B.C. and would continue those activities.

The case has drawn protests outside the hearings since September. Protesters say Stoner is an example of why trophy hunting should be banned in B.C.

Grizzly bear in Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Sophie Wright

Grizzly bear in Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Sophie Wright.

The grizzly shot by Stoner, which local residents had named Cheeky, was killed in an area known as the Great Bear Rainforest.

The provincial government hands out 300 licences each year. Hunting generates more than $300-million in annual revenue.