FAIRBANKS — A Michigan woman who received a prestigious award from an international hunting organization for killing a grizzly bear in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge four years ago was sentenced in federal court in Fairbanks recently for illegally killing the bear.
Charlotte M. Peyerk, 66, of Shelby Township, Mich., was ordered to pay $25,000 in fines and write an apology to Safari Club International for submitting a fraudulent entry of the illegally taken bear. Her son, Mark A. Peyerk, 40, of Mio, Michigan, was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine for his role in the 2009 hunt in which Charlotte Peyerk shot a grizzly bear the day before the season opening. Mark Peyerk must also write a letter of apology to the Safari Club as part of the sentence imposed by Magistrate Judge Scott Oravec of the U.S. District Court in Fairbanks.
The Peyerks are two of several out-of-state hunters who have been convicted as a result of a larger investigation that led to the conviction of master guide Joe Hendricks, of Anchorage, owner of Fair Chase Hunts. Hendricks was ordered to pay a $125,000 fine a little more than a year ago for a plethora of illegal guiding activities in ANWR that involved guides, assistant guides and hunters.
In one case, Hendricks admitted to breaking the horns on an undersized sheep to make it appear the sheep was a legal kill. In another instance, Hendricks admitted leasing his exclusive guiding areas to another guide, which is illegal.
In the case of the Peyerks, the two hunters admitted that they and their assistant guides agreed they should take the bear Charlotte Peyerk shot the day before the season opened, according assistant to U.S. Attorney Stephen Cooper, who prosecuted the case. The Peyerks' cameras had the date indicator altered to make it appear the bear was killed on opening day, Cooper said.
The Peyerks also falsified the date of the kill on a state harvest tag and on a Safari Club International trophy entry form, Cooper said.
As a result of the entry to the Safari Club, Charlotte Peyerk was awarded the club's Diana Award, according to a news release issued by the Department of Justice in Anchorage.
The judge ordered Charlotte Peyerk to offer to return the award to Safari Club International as part of her sentence.