Alaskan man banned from hunting for two years after killing harbor seal in Prince William Sound

A hunter accused of illegally killing a Prince William Sound harbor seal in 2017 and then lying about it was sentenced on Friday to two years of probation and community service related to marine conservation.

Paul Gil, 41, pleaded guilty last month to one count of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s ban on hunting, harassing or killing seals, according to district court filings. American from Anchorage.

Gil, while on a deer hunting trip with two companions, shot the seal with his AR-15 rifle and then took the dead animal to his home in Anchorage where he skinned it, according to federal prosecutors. He was also accused of lying to federal law enforcement officials last year about the seal’s death.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kyle F. Reardon sentenced Gil to two years probation and 100 hours of community service.

He also paid a $1,500 fine after implying he still possessed the AR-15 during plea bargains when he was no longer, according to a sentencing memorandum filed earlier this month- this.

Gil will not seek “any hunting license, permit, tag or harvest ticket from the State of Alaska” during the term of his probation, according to the plea agreement reached last month. He also renounced any interest in the AR-15.

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The attorney representing Gil in the case could not be immediately reached on Monday.

Gil was living in Anchorage at the time of the incident, but his current legal address is in Wasilla, according to Lisa Houghton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Anchorage.

Gil shot the seal while on a deer hunting trip in the Naked Island area in October 2017, according to the sentencing memo. He then loaded up the animal and took it to his home in Anchorage, where it was photographed cleaning up the seal carcass in the backyard.

A person identified only by initials told investigators that she “told Gil he couldn’t shoot a seal because he’s not from Alaska,” the memo said. The person said Gil then told them he would shoot them if they told anyone. Instead, they were telling people that the person, who is from Alaska, had shot the seal.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act exempts Alaska Natives from the ban on killing seals if they are used for “subsistence purposes or to create and sell authentic crafts and clothing,” the report says. document.

When law enforcement officers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration approached Gil about the hunt last June, he lied and said the only animal he harvested was a deer, according to the memo. . His fellow hunters, however, said he shot and killed a seal.

“Wildlife crimes like this are extremely difficult to detect,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “And that’s especially true in Alaska with our vast wilderness and 66,000 miles of coastline.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Lisa Houghton.