Guide’s client fined, loses bear

Another case related to the investigation of a Juneau guide for illegal hunting and fishing has come to an end.

Bradley Deffenbaugh, 51, of Honolulu, Hawaii on Friday entered a guilty plea to a strict liability violation. He was ordered to pay a total of $510 in combined fines and fees. Deffenbaugh was allowed the unusual provision of withdrawing his plea if there are any new charges.

Special prosecutor Andrew Peterson says he doesn’t anticipate any other charges being filed against Deffenbaugh.

Deffenbaugh also forfeits the bear that was at the center of the violation including the hide, skull, and claws.

Deffenbaugh was intially charged with a single misdemeanor count of negligently falsifying information required on a sealing certificate or temporary sealing form. He could’ve been sentenced to as much as a year in jail and fined 10-thousand dollars if he was convicted.

Alaska Fish and Wildlife investigators alleged that Deffenbaugh killed a black bear near the end of the Juneau road system, traveling by vehicle with guide Michael Duby on June 4th, 2009. According to charging documents, Deffenbaugh “signed a sealing form certifying that the bear was taken south of Lynn Canal with the use of a boat on June 3rd, 2009”.

When interviewed by investigators, Deffenbaugh admitted to signing the sealing certificate, but he did not know why it stated that the bear was killed on the previous day with a boat.

Deffenbaugh initially entered a ‘not guilty’ plea during an arraignment in December. A jury trial was tentatively planned for late February.

Defense attorney Julie Willoughby says her client had simply signed the sealing form that was filled out by his friend, Michael Duby, without reading it carefully.

“That was simply his mistake,” says Willoughby.

The charge against Deffenbaugh was filed by the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions which has also filed charges against Michael Duby’s brothers, Jason W. Duby and Joel M. Duby, both of Washington state, for alleged bear hunting and sport fishing violations.

Michael Duby was sentenced last week to nine months in jail and penalized nearly $44,000 on state and federal charges. He pled guilty to a number of crimes included selling migratory bird parts on the internet, baiting bears behind his home, and falsifying a hunting license application and Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application. Duby also got caught committing sport fish guide violations while taking undercover investigators out on a halibut trip. The violations included too many poles and too many halibut taken, and falsifying guide reporting requirements.

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