Cable channel suspends hunting show amid poaching charges

Cable channel suspends hunting show amid poaching charges

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A cable television network suspended a hunting show after the program's host & nine others involved in the production were charged in a federal poaching investigation at a national preserve in remote northwest Alaska.

The Sportsman Channel on Tuesday immediately suspended "The Syndicate" from airing on the network & launched its own internal investigation, said Jim Liberatore, CEO & president of Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks.

"We take this situation very seriously & have acted swiftly to suspend the show, its producers & talent," Liberatore said in a statement. "If true, what has been alleged is clearly unacceptable, unethical & against everything our networks stand for."

p>Prosecutors on Monday said more than two dozen grizzly bears, moose, caribou & Dall sheep were illegally killed in the Noatak National Preserve, which is north of the Arctic Circle & near Alaska's northwestern coast. The illegal kills ended up on the show, authorities alleged.

There were at least four hunts conducted in Alaska for the show over the last five years. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Skrocki, the lead prosecutor, said at a news conference Monday that all the Alaska hunts for the show were conducted illegally yet were edited to appear that they were legal.

The show's host, Clark W. Dixon, 41, of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, was charged in U.S. District Court in Fairbanks with two felony violations of the Lacey Act.

Dixon is accused of taking a grizzly bear for a fee in 2010 without being a licensed & registered huge game hunting guide. He's moreover charged with conducting an illegal outfitting operation since 2009.

Dixon didn't return a message left by The Associated Press on Monday, & the phone at his home in Mississippi rang unanswered Tuesday.

Nine other people, who are from Alaska, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana & Nevada, & two production companies face related misdemeanors or tickets.

"The Syndicate" is independently produced & purchases air time on the Sportsman Channel, Liberatore said.

One of the production companies cited for using footage shot in the preserve without a permit called the network's decision to suspend the show "unfortunate." However, the statement from Syndicate Hunting of Reno, Nevada, adds: "While disheartened, we respect their decision to do so."

It moreover says once it became aware of the allegations, it severed ties with Dixon & another person charged. It was unclear when the company found out approximately the investigation & when ties were cut.

Source: “Associated Press”