GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (CN) – A 73-year-old man pleaded guilty to illegally importing the trophy mount of a polar bear that he hunted and killed in Canada.
Rodger Dale DeVries, of Jenison, Mich., faces up to one year in prison and a fine of $100,000 for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Under this law, U.S. citizens cannot import polar bear trophies or parts unless the secretary of the interior has determined that the animal was hunted in a region with sustainable population levels.
DeVries admitted that he hunted his polar bear in Canada’s Foxe River Basin, an area that has received no such a determination from the secretary. Because polar bears have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since May 2008, the act automatically prohibits the importation of polar bear parts or trophies for personal use from any part of Canada.
DeVries admitted to obtaining a license from the Nunavut Territory in Canada to hunt and kill a polar bear from the Foxe Basin in November 2000.
Knowing that he could not import his kill into the United States, DeVries stored the polar bear trophy in Canada and took his two minor-age grandsons to retrieve it in July 2007.
Once the family picked up the trophy from the storage unit, DeVries put the contraband in his boat at an Ontario harbor. DeVries drove the boat across the border into Raber Bay, Mich., and moved the trophy into his home a few days later.
He sold the boat.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Greeley entered DeVries’ plea. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8.