A prominent Instagram influencer has been accused of illegally killing bears in the Yukon, according to court documents and Canadian news reports.
Tristan James Hamm, a 34-year-old athlete and entrepreneur with more than 2 million followers on Instagram, now faces 19 state and federal charges related to illegal hunting in Canada’s Yukon Territory. A native of Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital, Hamm is accused of giving false information to illegally obtain hunting licenses in October 2022, according to court documents.
Over the course of a single week in May 2023, Hamm allegedly killed two Yukon black bears and a grizzly bear, the documents said. The documents also purport he then exported the animals’ remains out of Canada — another violation of the country’s Wildlife Act.
Hamm’s Instagram account has gone private since Canada’s CBC News first reported the story on November 22. In a statement sent to the CBC, Hamm said he was “deeply saddened” by the charges and considers himself an advocate for “ethical wildlife practices.”
“I want to emphasize my unwavering commitment to responsible and respectful engagement with the natural world,” he told CBC. “I am looking forward to this matter being resolved appropriately in court.”
GearJunkie could not reach Hamm for comment.
An ‘Adventure Athlete’ Focused on Health Benefits
Across multiple social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, Hamm makes videos about a host of outdoor sports, including rock climbing, horseback riding, and skiing.
He’s also the founder and CEO of Revived Outdoors, an outdoor adventure company he started in 2016. After a stint as a foreman for Canadian oil pipelines, Hamm focused on social media and building his adventure business, according to a Forbes feature in 2020.
In the article, Hamm stressed the importance of responsible tourism. He even started a “movement” he called “Explore, Don’t Exploit,” which advocated against geotagging on Instagram.
“We want people to explore. We want to go out there and do it. We just don’t want to exploit it,” he told Forbes.
Now, Hamm’s alleged violations of Canada’s Wildlife Act could lead to jail time. A first offense allows for up to a year in jail and a $50,000 fine, according to the Yukon environmental department. Additional offenses could result in additional fines and jail time.
Illegal hunting of bears in the Yukon is uncommon, a department spokesperson said.
“Over the past years, there have been very few Wildlife Act offences in relation to hunting of bears, with the last offence happening in 2016 in relation to a black bear,” the spokesperson said. “The last offence in relation to grizzly bear hunting happened in 2011.”
Court documents alleged that Hamm illegally killed two black bears, one at Bove Island and another at Dry Creek, in mid-May. He’s also accused of illegally killing a grizzly bear near Kluane Lake a few days later.
The case will come to Yukon Territorial court in January, according to CBC News.