Clayton Stoner facing five charges for killing grizzly bear

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Greg Wyshynski
Stoner
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Cheeky the Bear didn’t have the same fame in British Columbia as Cecil The Lion did in Zimbabwe, but his demise also made headlines when he was shot and killed in a trophy hunt in 2013.

His hunter wasn’t a Minnesota dentist; it was a Minnesota defenseman – Clayton Stoner, now with the Anaheim Ducks, who was photographed holding the severed head of “Cheeky.” 

Two years later, Stoner is facing five charges related to the hunt under the Wildlife Act, according to the Vancouver Sun:

The B.C.-born Stoner is charged with two counts of making a false statement to obtain a licence on May 22, 2013, as well as one count of hunting without a licence, one count of hunting wildlife out of season, and one count of unlawful possession of dead wildlife — the latter three offences allegedly taking place on May 28, 2013. Stoner is scheduled to appear in Vancouver provincial court on Oct. 9.

The issue is that hunters need to be Canadian citizens or need to be physically present in B.C. in “six calendar months out of the 12 calendar months” before applying for the hunt. From the Sun:

The legal argument is that Stoner did not meet those conditions due to living out of the province as a professional hockey player. At the time of the hunt, Stoner played for the Minnesota Wild but joined Anaheim as a free agent in 2014.

Anyone who cannot meet that criteria must pay to hunt with a licensed B.C. guide-outfitter — typically, about $25,000 US for a coastal grizzly. The charges carry potential maximum fines of $50,000 to $250,000.

Stoner refused comment to the Sun on these developments. Back in 2013, he defended his trophy hunting:

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“I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” said Stoner, in a statement released through the Minnesota Wild.

“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting licence through a British Columbia limited-entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May. I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.”

Stoner shot the bear in the Kwatna River estuary, which is an area First Nations had declared off-limits to trophy hunting according to the Sun.

Stoner isn’t the only NHL player to get into hot water for trophy hunting a bear. Please recall David Booth, now in camp with the Florida Panthers, who posted a string of photos showing him holding dead animals before posting one of him kissing a grizzly bear (seriously) in a show of inter-species peace.

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