Report: Stoner expected to enter plea in illegal bear hunt case

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Anaheim defenseman Clayton Stoner is expected to enter a plea on Friday relating to five chargers for an illegal grizzly bear hunt, the Canadian Press reports.

More:

[Stoner] faces five charges for a hunt in 2013 on British Columbia’s central coast.

Wildlife groups and First Nations leaders have been outraged that Stoner killed the bear, named Cheeky.

Charges against Stoner, who hasn’t lived in his Vancouver Island hometown for years, include knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting licence.

Charges against Stoner were initially filed in September, nearly two years after pictures of him hoisting the grizzly’s severed head first appeared online.

Stoner, who at the time of the hunt was playing with the Minnesota Wild, identified himself as an avid outdoorsman that “grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia.”

In a statement released by the Wild’s PR team, Stoner said he conducted himself in a legal manner.

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

But authorities had a different take.

From the Vancouver 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.

“All five charges are directly related to the residency requirement,” [conservation office Detective-Sergeant Cynthia] Mann said.

Stoner has come under fire in the weeks since the charges were filed. In mid-October, a group of animal activists protested outside a Ducks home game at the Honda Center.