Gov. Dunleavy’s hunting hobby took him to Texas and Alaska Peninsula in search of bear, quail and antelope last year | #alaska | #politics

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took several gifted hunting trips last year worth at least $16,000, according to his newly filed financial disclosure.

Dunleavy, a Republican, hunted bears on the Alaska Peninsula with trophy guide and former Anchorage GOP Rep. Mel Gillis. And he hunted deer, quail and an African antelope called gemsbok on ranches in Texas, where he said he also targeted pigs from a chartered helicopter.

“I’ve been hunting a long time,” Dunleavy said in a phone interview. “I’m going to continue to go hunting, and I just like to get in the outdoors.”

State law required Dunleavy to file his financial disclosure last month. His is one of hundreds filed by executive branch workers, board and commission members, state legislators and judges.

In the document, the governor reported his and his family’s sources of income, gifts and business and investment interests.

Those include the $20,000-$50,000 that Dunleavy’s wife, Rose, reported earning as an Alaska Airlines customer service agent and Native corporation dividends paid to Rose and a dependent daughter.

There are trips and lodging paid by interest groups like the Republican Governors Association and the American Exploration and Mining Association, along with a helicopter site tour from Ambler Metals, the company developing the proposed Ambler mine.

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The hunting-related gifts were among the most valuable that Dunleavy disclosed.

The governor, in the interview, said he’s been hunting since he was a child in Pennsylvania, where he and his friends shot at squirrels and rabbits.

That pursuit continued after he moved to Alaska, where he’s hunted musk oxen and other game. As governor, Dunleavy has joined a “sportsmen’s caucus,” and he’s also suggested importing deer into the Mat-Su as a new species for hunting in the region.

Dunleavy has remained an active hunter since his election in 2018, including last year.

Public officials report their gifts and income in ranges, rather than using specific numbers; Dunleavy valued his gifted bear hunting trip with Gillis last year at between $10,000 and $20,000, including lodging, food, guiding and airfare.

Gillis is a veteran hunting guide whom Dunleavy appointed to an open state House seat in 2019, which he then lost narrowly in the 2020 election. In a phone interview, Gillis said he usually gives away one hunt a year, and called his trip with the governor “priceless.”

The other hunts Dunleavy reported were with two Texas men, Billy Robinson and developer Ronnie Urbanczyk. Urbanczyk is a friend of Gillis, while Dunleavy said Robinson has been a friend of his for several years.

“I don’t know if you know people from Texas, but lots of them are just nice people, and they hear that you hunt, they hear that there’s a governor that hunts,” Dunleavy said. “So I go down and hunt.”

Dunleavy, in his disclosure, reported that Robinson gave him a Ruger revolver, the charter helicopter ride and four taxidermied deer and gemsbok heads, with an overall value of $3,000 to $7,000. From Urbanczyk, Dunleavy accepted binoculars, a rifle and scope, lodging and food, spices and “game processing” valued collectively at $5,000 to $10,000.

Gillis, Urbanczyk and Robinson have not asked the governor for any favors or other action in return for the hunts, Dunleavy said, adding that “all the disclosures are there.”

The leader of one group that’s been critical of some of the governor’s Board of Game appointments, Resident Hunters of Alaska, said he doesn’t have any problems with Dunleavy accepting the guided hunting trips.

“More power to Dunleavy for hunting,” said Mark Richards, the group’s executive director. “He’s a hunter, and we don’t have any problem with that.”

Other gifts that Dunleavy reported last year included 10 tickets, valued at $1,000 or less, for the governor and staff to attend a benefit concert for Alaska folk musician Hobo Jim, who died of cancer in October.

There were also an array of items given by an official from a Korean naval academy, including a model ship and cannon, skin care products, a coin and Korean brandy. The brandy, according to Dunleavy’s financial disclosure, was “destroyed as per security protocol.”

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