2/8/2020

An out-of-state hunting guide who illegally led trips to the Noatak National Preserve has been fined and banned from ever hunting in the state again.

“The approximate 6.7 million acres of the Noatak National Preserve include remote and pristine habitat for Alaskan wildlife,” wrote U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder in court documents. “The defendant, a resident of Idaho, repeatedly violated state and federal law by unlawfully providing guided bear and moose hunts in the Noatak National Preserve.”

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason, who handled the case, put forth the ruling last Wednesday. The defendant, Paul Silvis, 52, of Nampa, must also serve six months of home confinement and five years of supervised release as part of his sentence.

Silvis was motivated by financial gain, Schroder wrote in a sentencing memorandum. In total, he received about $121,500 for his illegal guiding services. A total of seven brown bear and one moose were unlawfully taken during the hunts, which he led between 2009 and 2016. He also provided false business documents to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in order to mislead officials.

In October, Silvis pleaded guilty to two felony Lacey Act violations. The Lacey Act covers illegal wildlife trafficking.

“Lacey Act violations cause significant environmental damage, are often difficult to detect, and are committed in the context of the highly-regulated guiding industry,” Schroder wrote. “By committing these offenses, the defendant not only harmed the natural resources of the Noatak National Preserve, but, also, greedily diverted business away from law-abiding guides.”

In order to hunt big game like brown bears in Noatak Preserve, non-resident hunters have to contract with a legal guide, as well as have the appropriate documentation like permits and game tags.

Gleason fined Silvis a total of $20,000 for the violations and noted he will not be allowed to hunt in Alaska again.

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