Report: Anaheim’s Stoner expected to plead guilty to grizzly bear hunting charges

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The long, drawn-out saga involving Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner and a controversial grizzly bear hunt he participated in three years ago could soon be coming to a close.

Per CBC, Stoner is expected to plead guilty to some of the charges brought against him. He’s been charged with two counts of knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license, and individual counts of hunting out of season, hunting without a license and unlawfully possessing dead wildlife.

CBC reports it’s unclear which charges he’ll plead to.

Charges against Stoner were initially filed last September, nearly two years after pictures of him hoisting a 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 came 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.