Point Hope hunters sentenced for illegal hunt

Four Point Hope hunters have been fined and ordered to publicly apologize and community service for the illegal taking and waste of walruses near Cape Lisburne, on Alaska’s North Slope, in September 2015.

U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline sentenced Adam T. Sage, 24, Mihael R. Tuzroyluk Jr., 21, Guy S. Tuzroyluk, 27, and Jacob Lane, 24, to three years probation, during which time they are to hunt for the subsistence needs of Point Hope elders.

In handing down the sentences, Beistline accepted concurrent sentencing recommendations of the Native Village of Point Hope, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendants, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

All four men pleaded guilty in federal court in Fairbanks to violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act related to the illegal take of walrus.

The charges stemmed from two hunting trips that occurred when a thousand walruses or more were hauled out on the beach. During the trips, some of the men shot several walruses and salvaged only the ivory tusks, leaving the animals to rot.

Their actions also caused the herd to stampede, resulting in the deaths or injury of up to two dozen or more additional walruses, half of them calves. All the walruses killed in the stampedes were left to waste, authorities said.


They have been banned from walrus hunts for one year.

Probation conditions for each defendant include paying $1,000 restitution to be used for walrus conservation projects in Alaska national wildlife refuges, 500 hours of community service in Point Hope, and public apologies to the Native Village of Point Hope Council and Point Hope whaling captains.

Then defendants were also ordered to make 12 public presentations in Point Hope and other coastal villages on hunting ethics and the legal duty to salvage in full any animal taken.