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Fishing guide expected to plead guilty Feb. 1

Posted: January 23, 2012 - 1:01am

Seven new charges have been levied against alleged poacher and longtime Juneau charter boat operator and fishing guide Michael P. Duby.

It’s not a surprise the charges were brought since the violations have been referenced in numerous criminal cases in the past year or two. The charges were filed on Jan. 13 by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson, who works for the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions.

Duby is expected to plead guilty on Feb. 1 to the charges in an agreement reached with prosecutors before Juneau District Court Judge Thomas Nave.

“There has been an announced change of plea,” Peterson said Friday by phone, though he declined to comment on the plea agreement since it is not yet public information.

The charges against Duby are: negligently establishing a black bear bait site without a permit; negligently and unlawfully possessing and transporting a black bear taken at an unregistered bait site; knowingly providing false information or omitting facts on a saltwater sport fish logbook; two counts of aiding a client of a sport fishing guide in a violation of state statute or regulation; knowingly making a false statement on a Fish and Game application; and unsworn falsification in the first degree for submitting a false PFD application.

Those are all class ‘A’ misdemeanors, except the unsworn falsification in the first degree charge, which is a class ‘C’ felony that can carry up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Duby, 37, is the owner and operator of FishHunter Charters in Juneau. About nine other people have been charged or convicted with alleged poaching activities in connection to him. The change of plea hearing on Feb. 1 is also the same date Duby will be sentenced in federal court for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits the sale of migratory birds, either whole or by parts.

Duby pleaded guilty to that charge in accordance with a plea agreement reached in late September after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in June of last year for unlawfully selling migratory birds, bird parts and bear hide on eBay.

That plea agreement dismissed the other six counts of the federal indictment. Six of the counts were for the illegal sale of migratory birds, with the seventh alleging the sale of illegally taken bear.

That sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess, two hours after the change of plea hearing with Nave in District Court scheduled for 11 a.m.

All of the new charges filed by Peterson stem from instances spanning from May 2007 to June 2009.

Some of the charges Peterson alleges in the recent charging documents are that Duby admitted to Troopers to killing two bears — one on May 25, 2008, and the other, Sept. 22, 2008 — off of bait at an unregistered bait site outside his residence in the 7200 block of Glacier Highway without a permit. He also admitted to lying on both of the bear sealing certificates, the document states.

Troopers found him in possession of a number of other bear hides as they executed a search warrant on his house in August of 2009. He killed a black bear in 1999 on a resident license and brown bear in 2003, but it later came to light he killed the brown bear during closed season and was falsely claiming to a resident of the state of Alaska, the document alleges. He was charged for both bears and forced to forfeit them. The brown bear was forfeited, but the black bear was never found. Duby admitted to Troopers during the execution of the search warrant that one of the hides was the black bear, the document states. He also admitted that two other bear hides in his residence were taken in 2001 and 2002 when he failed to possess the appropriate non-resident locking tag necessary for a non-resident to legally hunt black bear, according to the document. He also failed to have either bear sealed, which is required by Alaska law, it states.

Duby’s sport fish guide books do not show a trip wherein he was paid for taking a client bear hunting and fishing in May of 2008, and Alaska law prohibits a person from receiving compensation for guiding, outfitting and/or transporting big game hunters without a license, the information sheet says.

An entry in Duby’s personal journal dated April 30, 2009, shows that Duby took a sport fishing guide who works for him to Admiralty Island to hunt brown bears, and that the guide killed a beaver on the beach during that trip, the document states. The document says Duby took the beaver in his vessel, The Huntress, and sent the beaver out of state to be tanned. Alaska law makes it unlawful to take a furbearer on Admiralty Island with a gun.

The trooper investigation also found that Duby allowed his brother Joel Duby to guide sport fishing clients without a valid sport fish guide’s license in May of 2007, Peterson wrote. A further review of sport fishing licensing records revealed that in June of 2007, numerous clients of Duby’s fished on his vessel without possessing a valid sport fishing license for the duration of the trip.

Peterson goes on to say that in April 2009, Duby lied in his application for an Alaska resident hunting license from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau, which he received, when he knew his hunting privileges were revoked in the state of Washington on March 10, 2009 for two years.

Lastly, Peterson alleges that on March 31, 2009, Duby falsely wrote on his 2009 PFD application that he had not been absent from Alaska for more than 90 or 180 days. A Troopers investigation found that wasn’t true as Duby was outside of Alaska from Jan. 1, 2008, to March 11, 2008, and then again from Oct. 18, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2008. He also failed to report significant absences from Alaska in 2009 and 2010 for his 2010 and 2011 PFD applications, Peterson says.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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