Breaking: Chilling video shows poachers slaughtering hibernating black bear mother, cubs in Alaska

By on March 27, 2019 with 65 Comments

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

Today, we are releasing chilling footage of Andrew and Owen Renner’s now infamous – and illegal – black bear trophy hunt in Alaska last April, so you can see what grisly fate awaits the state’s native carnivores if the U.S. government goes ahead with a proposal to roll back protections for these animals on federal lands. Unless we halt that plan, tens of thousands of animals will face the same grim fate as the three bears killed by the Renners.

The video starts out with the father-son duo on skis spotting a mother bear hibernating in a tree hollow on Esther Island, in Prince William Sound. It’s apparent from the audio that the bear is aware of the impending danger and makes sounds that indicate her fear. The two pull out their guns and fire several shots into the hollow, killing the bear even as the shrieks of her baby cubs fill the air. The father, Andrew Renner, then shoots the two cubs at point-blank range. Next, the men pull the bear’s limp body out of the den. They pause for a victorious and bloody high-five, and a photo with the son holding up the bear’s paw, before proceeding to carve the bear into pieces. Then they roll up the bear skin, stuff it into a plastic bag, and leave with the bloody remains of what was, just hours before, a beautiful animal hibernating in her den with her cubs.

Unknown to the Renners, their depravity was captured by an on-site camera put up as part of a study by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service.

The video also shows that the men returned to the site a couple of days later to hide all evidence of their crime, stuffing the bear cubs’ bodies into a bag, disposing of a tracking collar placed on the mother bear as part of the study, and retrieving their spent bullet casings.

This explosive footage of the Renners’ misdeeds – obtained by the Humane Society of the United States under a public records request — offers a preview of what could happen to Alaska’s bears – and other wildlife – if a rule that allows cruel methods of hunting black bears and other carnivores on National Preserve lands in Alaska goes into effect. The rule seeks to roll back existing protections that prohibit hunting on these lands using cruel methods, like taking black bears, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites, shooting brown bears over bait, taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season, shooting swimming caribou, shooting caribou from motorboats under power, shooting black bears over bait, and using dogs to hunt black bears.

The Renner case serves as a disturbing reminder of how closely the current administration has aligned itself with trophy hunters. Over the past two years, we have seen a consistent rollback of protections for Alaska’s wildlife, despite poll data suggesting that most Alaskans – not to mention the rest of us — do not want their wildlife placed within the sights of trophy hunters. In 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule prohibiting similar types of hunting methods on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, but Congress and the president overturned the rule in February 2017. In 2015, the FWS issued a rule prohibiting these types of hunting methods in the Kenai National Wildlife refuge, but the agency is now planning to introduce a proposed rule that would repeal those protections, too.

For his crime, Andrew Renner received a five-month prison sentence. Both he and his son had their hunting licenses temporarily suspended, and had to forfeit personal property. But the only reason they were held accountable is because they committed their poaching act in an area where it was not permitted. This slaughter would have been perfectly legal had it happened on some other designated federal lands in Alaska, including National Wildlife Refuges. And if the proposed federal rule goes into effect, more of Alaska’s federal lands will become fair game for trophy hunters like the Renners.

The comment period on the federal rule has now closed, but the final rule has not yet been issued. It’s still not too late and we are asking that you sign our petition to Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt asking him to leave previous protections in place. Let him know that you’re opposed to expanding this shameful and cruel activity to more federal lands. Alaska’s National Preserves belong to all Americans, and we need more protections on these lands for the extraordinary species who inhabit them.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund

Tell Secretary Bernhardt you want stronger protections for wildlife on federal lands

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65 Comments

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  1. Michele OBrien says:

    I would like to know why only Andrew Renner received a five-month prison sentence. Why did not the other Renner receive a prison sentence as well. Also their hunting licenses should have been revoked and all weapons seized. They should never be allowed to hunt again and never be allowed to own a weapon. They are total disgusting trash lowlifes. I don’t approve of hunting under any circumstances however I have to live with the fact that people do indeed hunt. But to do something like this? They did not get enough penalties. And again…. They should never be allowed to hunt and can never be trusted.

    • Donna parker says:

      Agreed

    • Meg Parker says:

      Fully agree.

    • Corey says:

      Totally agree….just sickening trash humans

    • Karen NG says:

      Agree 100%, revoke all hunting or fire arms licenses. The sentence was too lenient, which is why there is not much of a deterrent to poachers. Now some countries have changed their laws, and poachers receive a death sentence! I would be on board with changing our laws as well!

    • Carol wolliamdon says:

      They both should get 10 years. Go to Owens facebook page. I sent him a message

      • Heidi Wallace says:

        I can’t stand poachers..these guys, should go to prison for 10 yrs. God made all these beautiful wild animals, to learn about them, to enjoy watching them..Please, do what you can, this has to stop.

    • John C Clark says:

      This is the most reasonable reply. I believe in the lawful harvest of wildlife in order to avoid overpopulation, and for the purpose of providing food for the family – especially in Alaska for local residents. There are plenty of good conservation laws on the books that game wardens do their best to enforce. A knee-jerk reaction to this horror is to immediately cry for more laws – more government intervention in our lives – instead of the reasonable actions that should take place here. ENFORCE the existing laws with a REASONABLE penalty. In this case, hunting licenses should have been revoked for life (this can be done) and long-term jail time should have been demanded by the soft headed judge. And perhaps the family should have also had property – home, cars, etc. – seized, if the law allows, if they could not come up with a very stiff fine that would send a message to other cowardly souls who pose as legitimate game hunters.

      • Leslie Holt says:

        I agree with you John Clark but I would like to suggest that if at all possible these type of monsters should also not be allowed to own pets either. Because I can only imagine how someone like that most likely is not a loving pet owner. This makes me so disgusted and physically ill.

    • Melanie Woods says:

      In total agreement.

    • Jerri.newsome says:

      I soooo agree with, they got a slap.on the wrist 4 this bs

    • Monica Murphy says:

      completely agree!

    • Tyler says:

      I agree. However, hunting does have its place. Its necessary for conservation.

    • Patty says:

      The personal property they had to forfeit was firearms, a boat, I believe there may have been an atv type vehicle and possibly some property involved also, I had read in another article.

    • S. Schroeder says:

      I believe it was only three months! We need an outcry for stiffer animal cruelty and poaching crimes! This is heinous and sickening.

  2. Diane Kruse says:

    This is heartbreaking and needs to be stopped!!

  3. Ruth Dyer says:

    Where can wild animals be safe from humans?
    Who protects them.
    If hibernating deep in the woods on federal land. Please protect the animals and prosecute this killing duo.
    This is a HORRIFIC HEARTLESS CRIME.
    What next for this killing duo?

  4. Ashley Schroeder says:

    Killing helpless bears is the height of cowardice. There is no reason to kill these bears. They may say it is for food but these hillbillies are using them as trophies and hanging them on their walls. Put these cowards up against “up and awake” bears and see how they fair!

  5. Michele Carol Jankelow says:

    These hunters are totally savage and should have their licences permanently revoked. What a despicable family this must be! How can man be so totally savage?
    Am appalled at this blood lust and merciless disrespect for nature!

  6. Vanessa Fields says:

    This is a disgrace! I can not imagine the need to overturn these protections for trophy hunters to abate their inadequacies.

  7. Melanie Paulson says:

    I am pleading that protections not be overturned. No matter one’s view on hunting; to kill a mom and cubs in hibernation is dispicable.

  8. Blog Editor says:

    Some comments have been removed from this post for violating the commenting policy. Please read and follow the commenting policy when you post: https://blog.humanesociety.org/commenting-policy?credit=blog_post_032719_id10491

  9. Rita Waine says:

    Please help stop this Now! These 2 Monsters should be jailed for a very long time.
    👿👿

  10. Gloria Espinoza says:

    Dr’s will tell you that killing for pleasure is an indication of psychopathic behavior. This is thrill killing and get’s worse as the person feeds on the action. The world has gone mad in it’s pursuit of inhumane pleasure torture and killing. No wild animals should be killed for the pursuit of money or pleasure and no public land should open for mass killings based the overreach of the rich and our own government. We must not keep silent. Only when millions of voices together protest and voice their disgust will this stop. And punishments must be much harsher as available within the law. Permanent loss of hunting licenses and higher monetary penalties so those who break the laws are a example of the abhorrence We The People feel towards the destruction of our wildlife.

  11. Dolf M says:

    Passing the law that allows this disgusting practice was one of the FIRST things Trump & the GOP ghouls did when the buffoon took office. You can’t vote Republican and be an animal lover! If you think so, you’re delusional. (See H.J. 69)

  12. Dolf M says:

    Also please stop referring to them as “hunters” they are COWARDS and should be referred to as such.

  13. Elissa Cavender says:

    Please stop this.
    So cruel!

  14. Karen says:

    Sick! Can you imagine sleeping safely in your bed with your babies and someone barges In shoots you and your babies in the safety of you bedroom. This is not honorable and is actually cruelty at its very worst. These babies are not safe and inhuman treatment should be against the law. This is gluttony and sick behavior. Please protect all animals that are in their dens and raising young. Please. Our children need to see this is not acceptable behavior

  15. Theo says:

    This is disgusting behavior but it is not now and has never been legal to kill bear cubs or sows with cubs in AK or any other state and Trump’s law change won’t alter that. These men were prosecuted under existing state law.

  16. Holly Pearson says:

    Male bonding.

  17. Val W says:

    This is close to the most repulsive excuse for humans that I’ve ever witnessed. They have no souls. They should have been sentenced and supervised to care for animals, not just sit in a jail cell. Force them to do the opposite of what they did. Hearing those cubs screaming is soul-chilling!

  18. Derek says:

    Read this before commenting. And then keep in mind this was illegal activity. This article is not accurate.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=hottopics.intensivemanagement_soa_vs_nps_usfws_faqs

  19. Marilou Villanueva says:

    Please be kind to animals…God knows who did evil things like this..what a pity animals..God Bless the animals…

  20. Dylan Oertli says:

    People like this need to be locked up and kept away from society, the levels of sadism they posses is a crime against nature. Absolutely disgusting, this cannot be allowed under any circumstances

  21. Heather Cronemiller says:

    This just makes me ill. What kind of “sport” is killing helpless animals. Anyone who engages in this should be ashamed of themselves!

  22. Pamela says:

    Oh what big men hunters these two Idiots There is no justice from the law for these animals…

  23. Nate Che says:

    😡😡😡

  24. Angelica C says:

    This is so ridiculous. They killed a family while hibernating. Cowards. People like this will be the end of mankind. 5 months jail time? How about 500 years? They need a bigger consequence. This video is absolutely terrifying and my heart goes out to the bears that were murdered while doing what nature intended. Both of these men need to do years and years of jail time. Cowards.

  25. Johnny Lawless says:

    Hunting is not at all what is romanticized in the minds of many. This is a prime example of the ridiculous myths spread about manly hunters and scary bears. But it is not the only one since so many hunters resort to baiting bears with donuts, candy, and garbage or grease.

  26. Karen Coombs says:

    Anybody that kills any type of animals while they are Hibernating is crazy. These low life humans need to be prosecuted to the fullest. Lawmakers should not allow this to happen ever. What in the heck is happening to our world.

  27. Suzanne Ashby says:

    These gentlemen, SHOULD get life in prison for what they did. If they did this in Montana, it would be against law and they would have to answer to law enforcement and fish and wildlife reinforcements. This makes my stomach sick.

  28. Gerianne Rossi says:

    We need tougher legislation with tougher sentencing guidelines. If we don’t have leaders that will ban these practices, they will continue in states with a high percentage of hunters like Alaska. Share this so others can be outraged.

  29. Denise Harvey says:

    Hope these 2 rot in hell. Hope someone sends them there. Soon.

  30. Lucy Williams says:

    Filthy human garbage to kill these beautiful animals! How can u kill a hibernating Mother Bear and her cubs! It is violent and ruthless ans disgusting! Why is there not stiffer laws for this kind of filthy behavior!!! Felony and Prison time ahould ve mandatory! I am heartbroken and angry!!! Wow it takes a piece of vrap human to kill a hibernating bear and her cubs!!! There is a special place for these two! God have mercy!

  31. Pam says:

    A male in need of his hit of submission? Couldn’t get a female human so he resorts to a defenseless momma bear? I hope your need to dominate is cured, but I think not. This sick bastard is just getting started.

  32. Cynthia M. Uhrich says:

    This behavior is extremely disturbing. These men need to both spend time in jail and after their release: they need to be monitored…if they are this reckless, heartless, and cruel with killing innocent animals–what else might they be capable of doing? Depraved is the right word. Sick, twisted and immoral also comes to mind. The (one?) jail sentence does not fit the crime.

  33. Lee says:

    For what reason did they have to do this?? The bears were NOT a threat or going after people. I am so devastated , saddened , and very extremely angry , that humanity has become so gun crazy.. The two humans are EVIL and literally the SCUM of the Earth. If I was the judge, i would certainly sentence both males to a lifetime of federal prison with hard labor and a $100,000 fine.

  34. Barbara says:

    It frightens me to think what other violent crimes they have already or will commit against not only animals, but people.

  35. Olivia Fordham says:

    What disgusting and HORRIBLE humans to take the life of a sow and her cubs…trash is not a good enough word to describe these people who shot the bears…. the sentences should be for five years each and full sentences along with big fines…their fines were not enough to pay for the lives of these precious bears…hope they get their karma back…

  36. Carolyn says:

    What goes around, comes around. Sleep well, evil-doers.

  37. JOANNE MAClEOD says:

    This makes me feel sick! I HATE,HATE, HUNTERS!

  38. Matt Muller says:

    Unless the punishments are made far more severe they’ll be back at it soon enough, real jail time, fines and maybe removing their hunting license for a year or two. There was nothing manly or heroic in that clip

  39. JCT says:

    Well, I’m sure they at least went to Grammar School, however, their
    lack of compassion would indicate neither the school or their parents
    taught them how to be a decent human being. I think the school should
    ask for their diploma back and the parents if intelligent enough should
    disown them.

  40. Judy says:

    What a terribly tragedy. Sickening. Those cowards should have received much harsher penalties for this!!

  41. Maestra says:

    To be frank, it is 222am, so I did not read the article in its entirety, however, I witness this every day. Two dys ago, in China, I saw a man beat a female poodle for the pleasure in he hunt. He held it up by its leash, like she was the punch bad itself and beat her without ceasing. After my mind registered the fact that he was not going to stop, and the spectators were loving every minute or too afraid to speak up, I did: your organization was screamed at the top of my lungs, the Goulu district – Nanjingers know you are one of the most hated organizations in American because people do not like to be held accountable for abuse.
    He took that dog inside and I demanded to see it. I demanded. I demanded. I demanded. When my demand was as constant as his prior beating, he brought the puppy, or what appeared to be the same puppy, outside.

    Life is hideous for animals. Continue to be a threat: it can be our entetainment on the other side of the coin.

    Their entertainment is the love of the sound of real crying. Men like that love forced submission to man.

  42. Stephanie Rabb says:

    It has to stop. Man has lost their compassion & probably never gained a love for GOD. God created the animals before man. Native Alaskans would kill out of a need to eat. And all things were seasonal. Meat in winter..more fruits and veggies in summer, there was balance. Now with a more european population settling in Alaska there is a bloodthist mentally to savagely beat, kill & torture GOD’s creation. When cultures have customs, and live according to that ..there is order. It seems folks who have no sense of this always disturb the balance. They should be beat like the animals and locked away. Not only them but there children/spouses. It’s unfotunate we live in a world where folks have become numb, insensitive, loveless. One last thing, courts, judge’s etc. Won’t enforce more stricter laws because most of them are hunters as well. And, in most cases their is money to be made. As in the case of thousands of elephants in Africa being slaughtered for their ivory. Only GOD will bring about ORDER. And when he does GOD help us all.

  43. Ehutzie says:

    Despicable sub humans who enjoy blood sport with no challenge..only defenseless animal victims. Should receive a punishment for murder..planned and executed. These are people with low esteem, other than what they get from other deplorables like themselves. Ban hunting for life and ownership of killing weapons as they know not what they do.Egregious humans who have no moral compass.

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