In 2000, Rodger Dale DeVries, 73, travelled to Nunavut, Canada for a polar bear hunt. He purchased a tag, hired an outfitter and legally killed a bear. Now he’s facing a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of $100,000, because he brought his trophy back across the U.S. border, according to the Globe and Mail.
In 2008 the U.S. government listed polar bears as a threatened species and made it illegal to import pelts or mounts from Canada. Even though DeVries’ case predates the 2008 classification, he’s being charged because he shot the bear in an area that the U.S. Department of the Interior decided didn’t have sustainable levels for hunting.
“The polar bear is an ecological and cultural treasure of the American and Canadian Arctic,” U.S. assistant attorney-general Ignacia Moreno said in a statement. “We will not tolerate the illegal importation of polar-bear trophies and will fully prosecute all violations of federal law.”
According to the Globe and Mail, DeVries knew that it was illegal to transport his bear back to the U.S., so he had it mounted and stored in Calgary. In 2007 he moved the bear from Calgary to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and then he ferried the trophy by boat from Ontario across the U.S. border to Michigan.
DeVries pleaded guilty to his charges and is expected to request a reduced sentence.