Convicted hunting guide faces Yukon charges

An American man who pleaded guilty to wildlife charges in the U.S. is now facing accusations in Yukon court. Ronald Martin, 72, from Haines is charged with more than two dozen new wildlife-related offences.

An American man who pleaded guilty to wildlife charges in the U.S. is now facing accusations in Yukon court.

Ronald Martin, 72, from Haines is charged with more than two dozen new wildlife-related offences.

Environment Yukon confirmed charges had been laid, but would not provide any more details while the charges are before the court.

Most stem from a joint U.S.-Canadian investigation known as Operation Bruin, prosecutors confirmed.

In October, Martin was sentenced in Juneau’s federal court on five charges involving the illegal killing of wildlife, false labelling, and illegal importation of wildlife. 

According to the U.S. states attorney in Alaska, Martin admitted to multiple illegal hunts, falsification of numerous documents related to those illegal hunts and the importation of illegal wildlife from Canada into the U.S.

He was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine and was placed on probation for four years.  During that time he cannot hunt in the U.S. and is banned from hunting anywhere in the world for two years. 

Before his appearance in federal court, Martin was also sentenced in Alaska state court on one count of guiding clients for brown bear over bait and one count of guiding clients over an unregistered bear bait site.

For those charges Martin was fined another $40,000, though $30,000 of that was suspended.

He cannot apply for a hunting licence until 2018 and was ordered to surrender his guide licence for life.

Operation Bruin “documented 10 illegal brown bear hunts, three illegal black bear hunts, and four illegal mountain goat hunts totalling a value of approximately $189,000,” the states attorney’s office said in a news release.

“The violations which occurred during the hunts involved Martin allowing his Canadian and U.S. clients to take brown bears over bait, hunting without the required licences or tags, and the failure to have a licensed guide with the non-resident alien clients during guided hunts.  

“The investigation revealed that Martin’s clients and Martin would file false documents to conceal the illegal nature of the guided hunts and would then smuggle the wildlife from the U.S. to Canada, all of which violated the Lacey Act and Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.”

The crimes occurred between May 2002 and November 2011, in and around the Haines, Alaska area, the office said.

As of last November, Canadian authorities have laid charges against 17 people connected with the investigation.

On March 22, 2013, Lyle Whitmarsh was convicted in Alberta provincial court of one count of illegally possessing and importing a brown bear into Canada. He was fined $4,000.

On October 16, 2013, Whitmarsh’s brother John was convicted of two counts of illegally possessing and importing into Canada a brown bear.  He was fined $15,000.

Both men were clients of Martin, the American authorities say.

Martin will next appear in Yukon court in January.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From Whitehorse to the Whitecaps

Joe Hanson is starting his second season with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy

Mount Lorne Mis-Adventure Trail Race doesn’t miss a step

Blue skies and sunshine for a chilly fall race

Canada Summer Games postponed

Yukon Canada Summer Games athletes will now work on mastering skills in preperation for 2022

Site selection for battery project draws ire of nearby landowners

Yukon Energy is accepting public comments on three possible sites for the project

Taking a closer look at the cosmos

Star gazing party scheduled for Sept. 18

Yukon government releases new guidelines for COVID-19 symptoms and sending children to school

The advice sorts symptoms into three categories: red, yellow and green

Nominations closed in Watson Lake byelection

Four candidates are running for mayor

Baggage screening changes begin

Passengers are asked to arrive earlier than normal in order to accommodate the new temporary system

Yukon Government extends education review

The final report is scheduled for release in March 2021

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Lawsuit against Freedom Trails settled

The suit was dismissed with consent of all parties

Tank farm takes another step towards development

OCP designation passes second reading

Climate change strategy targets 30 per cent reduction in territory greenhouse gases by 2030

The strategy includes rebates for electric vehicles but puts off mining targets for two years

Most Read