After decades in the business, Master Guide Joe Hendricks must hang up his gear and store away his equipment for the next five years as part of his sentencing this past week. Hendricks was found guilty of numerous counts of poaching and other big-game offenses, which has earned him a (perhaps inaugural) “Captain of Irony” award from Petersen’s Hunting.
Hendricks business is called Fair Chase Hunts, based out of Anchorage, Alaska. Petersen’s Hunting awarded him the dishonorable title with a slice of mockery, “Fair Chase? We think not. Illegal chase. Unethical chase. But not fair chase.”
Hendricks’ offenses include malicious waste of a caribou, doctoring sheep horns to meet regulations and subletting his guide use area to another guide for profit. Read the full press release below for more information.
Original press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on August 28, 2012:
Anchorage, Alaska U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that an Anchorage man has been sentenced in the U.S. District Court in Fairbanks on Friday, August 24, following his guilty pleas to 16 counts of commercial big-game guiding offenses.
Master Guide Joe Norbert Hendricks, 76, of Anchorage, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline in Fairbanks, on charges that he committed unlawful acts in the course of his commercial big-game guiding enterprise Fair Chase Hunts in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge between 2007 and 2009.
The charges Hendricks admitted to and to which he pleaded guilty included wanton waste of an entire caribou he had killed, two instances in which the horns of Dall sheep taken by his clients were altered by hammering the horns with a rock to obscure the fact that the horns were less than the legal minimum size, and 13 counts of subletting his assigned guide use area in ANWR to another guide, for compensation.
According to Assistant U. S. Attorney Stephen Cooper, Hendricks’ Plea Agreement included the facts he admitted to support the charges. These facts showed Hendricks wasted the caribou because he believed he had killed it unlawfully. He instructed two employees to conceal the carcass in a ravine, and filed an Alaska hunt report falsely claiming he had not hunted caribou.
Hendricks personally hammered the horn of a client’s under-sized Dall sheep to make it appear that the horn was already broomed before the sheep was killed. A sheep with both horns naturally broomed could legally be taken since broomed horns make it difficult to determine if the horns met the legal minimum of a full curl.
Hendricks operated in ANWR under a permit assigning to him the exclusive use of a specified area. ANWR assigns exclusive areas to qualified guides as a game management and conservation measure. Hendricks sublet his assigned area multiple times to another guide in return for compensation, which was not permitted by law or the terms of his permit.
Hendricks, a registered guide-outfitter in Alaska since 1974, has provided guiding services on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge primarily for Dall sheep as well as grizzly bear and caribou.
Hendricks was sentenced to a five-year term of probation and ordered to pay a total of $125,000 in fines. As a condition of probation, the court ordered Hendricks not to engage in hunting or guiding at any location, or to accompany anyone engaged in those activities, for a period of five years.
Ms. Loeffler commends the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement for Northern Alaska, and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge staff and the Alaska State Troopers for the investigation of this case.