Southeastern Outdoors Birds & Birding
Southeastern Outdoors
Home > Outdoor Activities > Hunting > Alaska Bear Poachers
Bass Pro Shops Web Site Promotion

Wisconsin Hunters Guilty In Alaska Bear Poaching

May 30, 2007

Two hunters from southeastern Wisconsin have pleaded guilty to federal charges in U.S. District Court, Milwaukee, Wis., in a case involving illegal brown bear hunting and illegal guiding in Alaska. Gerald T. Thull, age 52, West Bend, Wisconsin, and Thomas J. Bahr, age 44, Random Lake, Wisconsin, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Callahan, Jr. today. Both pleaded guilty as part of plea agreements made with the United States Attorney’s office. Judge Callahan sentenced Thull to pay a fine of $15,000 and ordered Bahr to pay a fine of $5,000. Judge Callahan ordered both men to pay restitution to the state of Alaska in the total amount of $2,600. Rifles used in the illegal hunts, two full-mounted brown bears and a bear skull were forfeited as part of the guilty pleas.

Thull and Bahr admitted to conspiring with Alaska hunting guide Bradley J. Salsaa to violate the federal Lacey Act. In October 1999, Thull and Bahr hunted brown bears illegally in Alaska, even though both men had killed brown bears in the same Game Management Unit the previous year. Alaska state law prohibited Thull and Bahr from bear hunting in the same Unit two years in a row. A third man, Gilbert J. Beine, age 52, Campbellsport, Wis., allowed Thull to use his tag on the bear Thull illegally shot. Beine has also been charged in federal court, and will appear at a later date. A fourth unnamed hunter allowed his tag to be used on a bear claimed by Bahr. During the investigation, federal agents learned that Bahr illegally shot at, and missed, another brown bear on the same hunting trip.

Thull and Bahr pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act by transporting, receiving and acquiring the illegally-killed bears in interstate commerce, from Alaska to Wisconsin. Thull pleaded guilty to an additional charge of purchasing guiding services for the illegal brown bear hunts.

Bahr told the Judge that the bears he and Thull shot in 1998 weren’t large enough. He said he and Thull wanted to go back to Alaska the next year to kill larger bears. Judge Callahan called Thull “the hub of the wheel” who paid for most of the trip for the entire group. The Judge said Thull thumbed his nose at the rules because he could afford it. He said Thull’s behavior suggested disregard and arrogance toward game laws. Said Judge Callahan, “hunting trips to Alaska are a gift, and you’ve abused that gift.”

In October 2002, Special Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and Wisconsin DNR Conservation Wardens interviewed the Wisconsin hunters and seized evidence including videotapes, two big game rifles, a brown bear skull and two mounted Alaska brown bears.
Assistant United States Attorney Gordon Giampietro represented the United States Attorneys Office in the case.



Related Articles & Resources
Alaska Poachers
Arkansas Game & Fish Comm. Fine Money Disbursement
Alaska Wolf Had Rabies
Alaska Walrus Poacher Jailed


Questions, answers and tips about big game hunting can be found in our Hunting Discussion Forums.

Hunting Info
Hunting & Shooting
Poachers by State
Africa Hunt Books
Hunting Jokes
Trophy Room
Venison Recipes
Sponsor Links
Related Links
Alaska Cabins
Shooting Ranges
Alaska Guides
Walrus Hunting Books