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Illegal Guide: BUSTED!
Hunting guide loses license Anchorage Daily News Published: September 15th, 2008 12:25 AM Last Modified: September 15th, 2008 12:25 AM
CORDOVA -- A big-game hunting guide who has been the subject of "dozens of formal complaints" lost his ability to lead hunts at his sentencing Friday, according to the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals.
Seward resident Darren Byler was accused of knowingly allowing a client to kill a brown bear in a closed season and was convicted of unlawful acts by a big-game guide, said Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson. As part of a plea agreement, Byler was sentenced to pay a $2,500 fine, $1,300 in restitution and a 30-day suspended jail term, Peterson said. Byler's guiding license was also suspended for five years and he will be prohibited from applying for any class of big game guiding license for the 10 years he will be on probation, Peterson said.
For their part, prosecutors agreed to drop perjury and criminal impersonation charges against Byler, he said.
Kodiak Daily Mirror 09/15/08 Seward guide sentenced; Kodiak brown bear permit charge dismissed By JAN HUISMAN Mirror Writer
An Alaska guide was sentenced in Cordova District Court to one count of unlawful acts by a big game guide on Friday. Darren Byler, 47, of Seward, was sentenced for knowingly allowing a client to kill a brown bear four days after the season closed. He was fined $10,000, with $7,500 suspended, and imposed a suspended 30-day jail sentence. Byler’s guide license was revoked for five years and he is prohibited from applying for any class of big game guide’s license for 10 years. As part of the plea agreement, several other misdemeanors and felony charges against Byler were dismissed, including charges of criminal impersonation stemming from a scheme in which Byler sought to flood a 2004 Kodiak brown bear lottery permit draw. Bear hunting guides are responsible for entering the names of their clients in the lottery. A guide will typically submit two or three names for each lottery, said Larry Van Daele, wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Kodiak. “Mr. Byler put in like 20 or 30 names, hoping that one of them would get drawn,” Van Daele said. “He was accused of putting in names of people who didn’t even know their names were getting put in.” Van Daele’s staff discovered the scheme when they called a lottery winner with the good news, only to be told the winner had not asked to have his name entered in the lottery. Kodiak Island is divided into several hunting areas. Each hunt area has anywhere from one to seven permits available each year, Van Daele said. Over the past several years, Byler was the subject of dozens of formal complaints to the Forest Service and the State of Alaska Consumer Fraud Division. Clients accused Byler of hostile, aggressive behavior and false advertising. In correspondence to a lawyer for the Forest Service, several clients said Byler intimidated them into filling out positive surveys at the end of the trip. “The guide (Alaska Adventure, Darren Byler) we selected turned out to be very unprofessional, decieving (sic), understaffed and just not a nice person,” one client wrote.
This may be the same dirtbag that caused the damage on Adak and resultant restrictions on caribou hunting there.
I beleive you are correct about the Adak connection.
He also had FS issues in PWS on the Chugach.
But, I did see him constantly on the Outdoor Channel, so maybe there is some mistake!!!!!!
Man, it is good news that he was busted. guides up there work way too hard to have to deal with competition like this!
wow good for him ,20 names what the heck was he thinking ....some guys just cant play fair... what happened to the hunter that killed the bear out of season ... louis
NEWS RELEASE KAREN L. LOEFFLER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY DISTRICT OF ALASKA Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse • 222 W. 7th Avenue • Room 253 • Anchorage, AK 99513 • (907) 271-5071 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 09-033 Tuesday, March 24, 2009 JUNEAU GUIDE SENTENCED TO JAIL, PAYS OVER $70,000 IN FINES AND RESTITUTION Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today, March 24, 2009, that Juneau resident and guide Larry Hooton was sentenced to a term of three months imprisonment, fined $41,000 and ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution to the state of Alaska and the U.S. Forest Service for illegally guiding and taking brown bears on Admiralty Island National Monument in excess of his permit. Chief U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick imposed the sentence on Hooton, age 70. Hooton, who owned and ran Seahook Charters, and his sons Shawn Hooton, age 42, and Shane Hooton, age 41, each plead guilty to conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act in January, 2009, for illegally taking brown bears during guided hunts on Admiralty Island, in the Tongass National Forest. In connection with the guilty pleas and the sentencing of Hooton, Assistant United States Attorney Steven E. Skrocki advised the court that the Hootons conspired to illegally guide non-resident hunters for brown bears on Admiralty Island National Monument in excess of their one hunt permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service. Seahook Charters exceeded their one permitted brown bear hunt limit by guiding three more hunters than the permit allowed and by taking four brown bears when only a single brown bear was allocated by their Forest Service permit. Charging documents and the plea agreements detailed the actions by Larry Hooton who, as justification for the excess kills, claimed that the additional bears were killed below mean high tide, when, in fact, the client hunters guided by the Hootons all utilized Admiralty Island lands to stalk and illegally kill the brown bears. In addition to the sentence, Judge Sedwick ordered the defendants to forfeit equipment used in the offense, cease commercial guiding for brown bear, and imposed a no hunting restriction. For his role in the offense, Shawn Hooton pled guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to three months home confinement, two years probation, and a fine of $30,000. He was also ordered to forfeit equipment used in the offense, including a custom .460 Weatherby rifle and scope, and to cease any commercial guiding, and is further prohibited from hunting for the two year term of his probation. Shane Hooton pled guilty and was sentenced to one year of probation and fined $20,000. He is also prohibited from guiding and hunting during the term of his probation and also forfeited a custom .460 Weatherby and scope. This investigation and today’s prosecution benefitted significantly from the efforts of the U. S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations, Alaska Wildlife Troopers Juneau Post, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and the U. S. Attorney’s Office. Special Agent in Charge, Stanley F. Pruszenski with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Region, complimented all of the 2 participating enforcement personnel on their cooperative efforts, adding, “Alaska is rich in its wildlife resources. We cannot allow this resource to be exploited illegally for commercial gain.” U.S. Forest Service Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dennis Deason stated, “The successful resolution of this case is a testimony to the spirit of cooperation between the state and federal agencies charged with protecting our natural resources. It is proof that criminals who intend to profit from the illegal exploitation of our public lands and resources will be held accountable. Our agencies will continue to aggressively pursue criminal prosecution of those who would unlawfully exploit public resources for commercial gain.” “The prosecution of Seahook Charters invalidates the below mean high water exception to brown bear guiding in Southeast Alaska”, said U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler. “Seahook charters violated the terms of its Forest Service permit and for these violations, paid over $120,000 in fines and restitution, lost valuable equipment and, in Larry Hooton’s circumstance, is serving time in federal prison.” The United States Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Seahook Charters.
I hired Alaskan Adventure Tours in 2004 to go on a black bear hunt. In 2003 I was in a near-death motorcycle accident and had to be taught how to walk, talk, eat, and wipe my own butt again. I went to Alaska once I was able to do the things that one must be able to do when they go on a big game hunt. Needless to say I spent almost 12 months getting ready with a personal trainer and other physical tasks so that I would be able to complete the hunt. Darren Byler and his wife were perfect posts, and they outlined each potential scenario with respect to absolutely no guarantee that we would get a bear. Further, Karen Byler's father was also a guide and the trio made up an excellent team to work with. I personally went out on eight different hunts During the period of time that I was with them. on my first day, because of my legs not being used to the rough terrain, I fell and my SIG arms 375 H&H hit the Rocks, unbeknownst to me, and cause a gouge in my scope. This caused my scope to no longer be calibrated correctly. On the last day after my last hunt where I was unsuccessful in getting a black bear I look down at my scope and saw where the metal was exposed through the black powder coating and I smiled, shook my head, and laughed about how I could be so simple and not check my weapon through a bore sight. the entire time I spent with Alaska Adventure Tours was ethical, moral, and a wonderful opportunity for me to prove to myself that I could complete a big game hunt in a post near death experience environment. Darren Byler is a gentleman, Darren Byler is an excellent guide, his wife is a lovely lady, and his father was also a gentleman and a very Godly Man. When someone who is successful has trouble with the federal government, those who may be a bit less successful because of their own unwillingness to spend money on marketing and advertising, will come out of the woodwork to kick the more successful man when he is down. It is upon information and belief that the federal government has a constant motive to strip away rights from any US citizen that they can, and they also wish to reduce the number of non felons in the United States. Because of all of the complaints, and negative drama that was placed upon Darren Byler, the federal government decided that they were going to go after him with a vengeance. The federal government succeeded, Darren Byler has a felony, and in order to derive an income mr. Byler is starting alternative businesses. True innovation comes from being Limited through and by legislation and governance. The way I see it, Darren Byler, who I have not seen since 2004, is being singled out and used as a scapegoat by the federal government, and those who would point the finger at him in order two blind themselves of their own inability to create successful businesses through proper marketing and sales techniques. It is nobody's fault but our own if we fail to achieve a level that we believe we can. Darren Byler, at least to me, always and forever be a success.
Seems you suffered permanent brain damage too. Stop sticking up for this post.
You would think that if someone was going to bring up a 9 year old thread, they would at least include Darren's floating strip club and the related crimes committed there.
Thank you so much for this tread. Waiting for the new one.