I've represented my fair share of hunters from Alaska and Outside. I've represented hunters, guides, hired help, lodge owners, and pilots. While free legal advice is worth what you pay for it, I can give you some recommendations to avoid anything like this if you hunt in Alaska. Some of this is only applicable to Alaska but other bits of advice could be applicable elsewhere. Avoiding legal trouble may sound really easy but: 1) the law isn't always clear; 2) it isn't always clear where you are and hunting rules/limits can vary greatly from one river drainage to another; 3) having a guide encourage you to break the law can make matters very difficult, and 4) seeing a great animal, whether moose, bear, caribou, whatever, can likewise be extremely tempting. So, what can you do?
1. Read the hunting regulations. I know. Sounds really simple. Problem is Alaska's hunting regs are complicated. The book itself is 144 pages. This is the regs for this year: http://bit.ly/3X8frqy
2. If using a guide, you should check the references. You can check the guide's license status here: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/
3. You can check if a guide has a criminal history. For Alaska state offenses, you can check here: https://records.courts.alaska.gov/eaccess/home.page.2
Checking federal cases (Lacey Act, which I do a lot of) can be harder because you need a specific account to pay for access to federal records. You can inquire of your guide but if you know a lawyer with an account to access federal records, you could do a real quick search of the PACER database.
4. There are a few biggies to specifically avoid in Alaska:
1) same day airborne hunting. This doesn't apply to commercial flights so if you catch an Alaska Air jet to Nome and then use ATVs go to a hunting camp, you're fine. But if you fly to Bethel and then get on a small plane to take you to remote wilderness, you cannot hunt until after 3:00 a.m. the next day. I've seen more than a few guides bend this rule when seeing a really good trophy and then lose their airplane.
2) baiting. You cannot bait for brown bears in this state. You can shoot a moose and hunt over the gut pile but you cannot bait. If your guide has put out bait for a brown bear, that's a big no-no.
3) using radios/communications/drones to scout for animals.
4) salvaging meat. In Alaska, you generally have to salvage ALL of the meat. Brown bears and wolves are an exception as are black bears in certain hunting units at certain times of the year. When I say 'ALL,' I mean all, even the neck and scrapings off ribs. I see self-guided hunters get trapped by this because they are a lot more likely to hunt off roads and then get caught. You cannot even take antlers/horns/hides out before the meat, although you can take them out with the last load of meat. If you waste enough meat, such as a back quarter of a moose, you can be charged with wanton waste. That carries a minimum of 7 days in jail. Even if you don't face jail time, if you violate the game laws, you are looking at thousands of dollars in fees as well as forfeiture of your equipment, including your rifle, any meat you got, any horns/antlers/hides, potentially vehicles used to transport you to the hunting site, whether ATV, truck, boat, or plane.
I did a 2 week misdemeanor trial because the government was seeking to forfeit 2 DeHavilland Beaver float planes, worth about $450K each. Alaska takes its fish and game laws VERY seriously. We even have a position in the department of law that is dedicated solely to prosecuting fish and wildlife violations. I was doing one F&G case and the F&G prosecutor told me he had greater flexibility to resolve cases as a line prosecutor than when handling F&G cases.
5. Know where you are when you're hunting. Read the game rules listed above and talk with your outfitter/hunter about what drainages you will be in. Get a GPS if you can to ensure you are where you think you are, especially for a DIY hunt.
6. If your guide encourages you to break the law, whether by same day airborne, or hunting before the season begins, refuse. If possible, record the guide on a cell phone urging you to violate the law. That won't make for the best hunting trip and you might wind up going back to Anchorage much sooner than anticipated. That, though, is a lot better than Alaska Troopers or FBI contacting you in 1-3 years asking if you were hunting with Bill Jones. If this happens and your hunt is ruined, you should get an attorney in Anchorage before you leave (I dont do a lot of civil litigation. I'd start with Brent Cole in Anchorage if this happened to me). You would have an excellent civil lawsuit against your guide and that suit would include not just what you paid for the hunt but also the loss of the hunting experience. Alaska juries would be far more sympathetic to you than you might expect. And you should also report such a guide to the troopers and the guide board.
Odds are low that this will happen to you. Most Alaska guides follow the rules because they understand why they are in place. But there are a few guides who break the rules and there are some people who get a trip of a lifetime to Alaska, do a DIY hunt and try to bend the corners a bit because of some circumstance or other. Don't do it. Just don't. It's not worth it. You think that a guided hunt for Alaska brown bear is expensive? Wait until you get charged with some crime and you have to pay: an attorney; fines and costs; loss of hunting privileges; restitution for the animal (no joke); forfeiture of your gear; and a ton of other expenses and time wastes. You might think that there is just nobody nearby and nobody will know. Your odds of getting caught are a lot more than you would think. One common way for cases to originate is for a guide to be caught red handed by a random trooper inspection. Trooper just flies into camp to check licenses and everything. I also see that some clients refuse to bend the law and notify troopers. In either case, when a guide/hunting operation comes under investigation, they frequently start investigating several years back. At that point, the kid who was just hired help because he wanted to be a guide suddenly remembers a whole bunch of stuff because he can avoid prosecution and if he works with the authorities, he might be able to still get his guide license. And if he remembers that you landed in camp on August 9 because season started August 10 and a really great brown bear wandered by the camp a couple hundred yards away and your guide said, "Lets go get it because its a great bear," even though its same day airborne and season hasn't started, well, you could very well be in a world of trouble when you thought this was way behind you. Not that I would have any reason to think of that example in particular.
It's sad that this happens but it does happen. And just as you need to prepare yourself for what to do in a variety of circumstances, you should prepare yourself if you discover your guide is not ethical in the middle of the hunt.