Skiwear executive admits to illegal hunt in Alaska
Ryan Summerlin February 10, 2013
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A 58-year-old skiwear company executive admitted to taking part in an illegal sheep hunt in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2008 and was sentenced Friday to pay $10,000.
Spyder Active Sports CEO Thomas M. McGann admitted in an agreement with federal prosecutors to transporting a Dall sheep taken illegally, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
He may not hunt anywhere in the U.S. for one year and must forfeit the sheep under the agreement.
McGann is the former president of Vermont-based snowboard manufacturer Burton Snowboards, one of the largest snowboard companies in the world.
He has served as CEO for Boulder, Colo.-based Spyder since 2009. The company is an official supplier for the U.S. Ski Team.
The hunt that pointed investigators to McGann was outfitted by Master Guide Joe Norbert Hendricks, who was sentenced in August to pay $125,000 in fines for crimes related to hunts in the refuge between 2007 and 2009.
McGann paid $11,000 to hunt Dall sheep in the wildlife refuge in August 2008, according to the plea agreement. He killed a sheep that had less than full curl horns, which is a violation of Alaska law unless both horns had been broken before the kill or the sheep was 8 years old or older, the agreement said.
The undersized sheep’s right horn had somehow been damaged in the wild before McGann shot it. Hendricks and an unnamed assistant guide determined the other horn should be broken, too, to make it look like a legal kill, according to the agreement.
“When they found out it was too small to be legal, then the alteration of it, and the continued possession of it at that time became unlawful,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Cooper, who prosecuted the Fairbanks case.
Hendricks hammered the horn with a rock, then told McGann to get rid of any pictures from the kill site, the agreement said.
At least two photos survived.
Prosecutors had not charged McGann with a crime – the conviction is a misdemeanor – prior to reaching the plea agreement signed Jan. 3, Cooper said.
McGann participated in the sentencing by phone, calling from Denver with his lawyer, the prosecutor said.