Anchorage Man Gets Prison Sentence For Hosting Illegally Guided Hunts

Here’s more on the case from Alaska’s News Source:

According to a press release from The United States Department of Justice, District of Alaska, 45-year-old Stephen Jeremy Hicks pleaded guilty in September 2021 to one felony violation of the Lacey Act for illegally selling guiding services to a client near Max Lake, which is near the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

Hicks sold a hunt he was not permitted to sell on Bureau of Land Management lands, and was in violation of Alaska State laws governing guide requirements for supervision of clients while in the field, according to the release.

Hicks was ordered to pay $13,460 for the illegally sold sheep hunt, and to forfeit his interest in a Piper Super Cub, according to the Attorney’s office. Hicks also faces three years of supervised release in addition to the six-month prison sentence.

Here’s the U.S. Department of Justice’s press release:

ANCHORAGE – An Anchorage man was sentenced to six months in prison and three years of supervised release for illegally selling big game guiding services in 2018.

According to court documents, Stephen Jeremy Hicks, 45, pleaded guilty in September 2021 to one felony violation of the Lacey Act for illegally selling guiding services to a paying client near Max Lake, Alaska. Hicks sold the hunt on Bureau of Land Management lands where he was not permitted to operate and violated Alaska State laws governing guide/client supervision requirements while in the field.  

Hicks was also ordered to forfeit his interest in a Piper Super Cub (N8126C) and to pay $13,460 in restitution for the illegally sold Dall sheep hunt. At sentencing the court found that Hicks had committed other wildlife hunting crimes with non-resident clients in violation of state and federal laws, including the Lacey Act. These include: guiding same day airborne hunts, guiding clients on other state and federally managed lands without permits, wanton waste of game, making false statements and records, taking big game without paying for required tags and guiding while his license was permanently revoked. While on supervision Hicks cannot fly private aircraft or engage in any commercial hunting activity in any capacity.

In determining the sentence, Chief U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason, focused on the lack of investigative resources for wildlife protection, the fact that Hicks profited from his crimes and the trust placed in big game guides by the State of Alaska, stating: “the need for prison is to make clear that blatant disregard for state and federal fish and wildlife rules will not be tolerated.”

“Alaska’s wildlife is the envy of the world. Unwavering wildlife law enforcement is critical to the health and well-being of the state’s wildlife populations, which are an irreplaceable part of Alaska’s natural heritage,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. “Wildlife is also critical to Alaska Natives for subsistence hunting and fishing as well as sport hunting and tourism. In coordination with our federal and state partners, our office will pursue and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who violate wildlife laws.”  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Land Management and the Alaska State Troopers investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki and Ron Dupuis of the State of Alaska Attorney General’s Office jointly prosecuted the case.