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Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Sad...but VERY True:

Here's an article from the Bonners Ferry Herald Newspaper, dated 12/18/03:

DEPUTY CITED FOR POACHING

Boundary County Sheriff George Voyles placed a patrol deputy on suspension pending an internal investigation after he wa charged with Idaho Fish and Game violations for illegally taking a Deer early Monday morning.

Heath Gustafson was cited for Shooting from the roadway, Shooting a deer with the use of artificial lights and for taking a deer out of season.

Sheriff's dispatchers received a report around 12:11 am of a poacher, south of Naples, driving a white Ford Explorer with the word "Sheriff" painted on the side.

According to the Sheriff's report, Gustafson was going off shift when the incident allegedly occurred.

Since Fish and Game Conservation officers were unavailable, oncoming Patrol Deputy Wayne Westbrook was called to respond.

On arriving, he found a large buck deer that had been freshly shot. Westbrook gathered evidence at the scene, and at Sheriff Voyles' direction turned it over to Fish and Game Conservation Officer Brian Johnson.

According to Johnson, Sheriff Deputy Gusatfson was fully cooperative and remorseful, and gave a full confession.

Johnson said the Sheriff's Office was extremely cooperative, and praised Westbrook for an excellent job investigating the incident.

The deer meat was turned over to the Gleaners for distribution to charity.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Does anyone else find this entire incident anything LESS than outrageous?

I called the Coeur D'Alene branch of Idaho Fish and Game and spoke with an Officer directly involved in the review of this "citation." He was quite vague as to whether this crime was a misdemeanor or a felony. He sounded "put out" that an Idaho Citizen would be concerned about how this incident would be resolved. He did assure me that a Special Prosecutor had been asigned. (for all the good that will do. ;-/ )

I'm not familiar with the code pertaining to the unlawful taking of big Game, so maybe you all can give me a clue here?

When a Sheriff's Deputy shoots a deer off-season, from the roadway, using artificial lights with a department-issued rifle while still on duty, is it a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

INCREDULOUSY, the very same day the above article was published, two Boundary County men were jailed (6 month sentences) and fined $500 each for unlawfully hunting with artificial lights and trespassing. (The FOOLS didn't even bag a deer!)

What is wrong with this picture?

Any average Joe would have been arrested on the spot! Not Deputy Gustafson. Seems like there are TWO sets of Rules in Boundary County.

Whatever happened to Justice for ALL?

I will be posting the email addresses and phone numbers of the Officials involved in the possible prosecution this "citation".

Deputy Gustafson should be afforded NO special treatment. As a Law Enforcement Officer, he should be held to the HIGHEST of standards!

Without public pressure, this entire incident will be swept quietly under the rug. For once, I'd like to see justice served.

I'm sick of the corruption that runs rampant in our small, rural community.

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

I have to agree that this is pretty outrageous and the deputy deserves to get the same treatment that anyone else would.

Have you written to the local newspapers? To the largest newspaper in your state capitol? If the press develops an interest in this story it won't be swept under the rug.

Offline
Joined: 12/23/2003
Posts: 20
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Get out the vacum cleaner!!! There shouldn't be a carpet deep enough to hide under!!!

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Thanks for your replies, Don & Slider.

I wrote letters to all of the Idaho newspapers (big and small) regarding this poaching incident.

The wheels of Justice grind very slowly here in North Idaho.

The Good ol' Boys Club is very much alive and well and our local newspaper is an impotent "member", so to speak. 8-/

IF&G informed me that the decision to prosecute was at the sole discretion of Phil Robinson.

lol...I didn't just fall off the Turnip Truck! Wink As an important arm of law enforcement, IF&G can absolutely influence the tenacity of the prosescution.

Will they covertly support their fallen Cousin[/]? I believe so.

I may be a loud, squeaky wheel, but I'm still only one wheel.

If you feel strongly about this, please email your opinions to the [i]Powers That Be listed below.

Idaho Fish and Game:
idfginfo@idfg.state.id.us
 
Special Prosecutor Phil Robinson: probinson@bcpros.org

Please let them know that Gustafson should be prosecuted to the full extent of the Law. A Sheriffs' Deputy Badge is not a license to poach.

Thanks for your time.

Mary

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 09/20/2003
Posts: 138
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Bonners ferry hu?
Now why doesn’t that surprise me?
The wheels turn slow all over this state when it comes to the IDFG.
What do we pay the IDFG for? All they do is want more money and do less and less, yet all seem to drive new 30 thousand dollar pickups with ATV in the back and never leave the road.
Couldn’t get an officer out there, MY! ASS.
More like the officer for that area was asleep and wouldn’t answer his phone.
The CO for that area dropped the ball, they now it .now the IDFG must take second seat to the local law
that’s why they told you what they did .You can bet your money though he will have a long line of paper works saying different.

Did you also write the Idaho statesman? I would like to read what they have to say.

Also if the person you talked to in your region was not polite to you get his name and call the head office in Boise file a complaint. It will not get you anywhere but my make you feel a little better.

[ This Message was edited by: captchee on 2004-01-01 09:14 ]

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

LOL captchhe! It's no wonder I believe in Divine Intervention!

I checked out the Idaho Statesman website today, making sure I left no stone unturned.

Following the "cracked corn trail", I clicked on the Outdoor Idaho page.

LO and BEHOLD! The Director of Idaho Fish & Game, Steve Huffaker, has agreed to take questions from the public (via the Idaho Statesman) and answer them in PRINT.

Questions must be emailed before Jan. 14, 04. Apparently, they will be answered beginning Jan. 29, 04.
LOL! Do you suppose he will address the concerns of this ordinary Idaho Citizen? I honestly don't know...not holding my breath...but I can hope!

I'll post the Question I asked Mr Huffaker.

The bottom line is: If you are not part of the solution. you are part of the problem.

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Under Idaho Fish and Game Regulations:

When a Sheriff's Deputy shoots a deer off-season, from the roadway, using artificial lights with a department-issued rifle while still on duty, is it a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

Director Huffaker...In case you are not aware, here's what's been going on in the sticks up North.

This is an article (verbatim) from the Bonners Ferry Herald Newspaper, dated 12/18/03:

DEPUTY CITED FOR POACHING

Boundary County Sheriff George Voyles placed a patrol deputy on suspension pending an internal investigation after he wa charged with Idaho Fish and Game violations for illegally taking a Deer early Monday morning.

Heath Gustafson was cited for Shooting from the roadway, Shooting a deer with the use of artificial lights and for taking a deer out of season.

Sheriff's dispatchers received a report around 12:11 am of a poacher, south of Naples, driving a white Ford Explorer with the word "Sheriff" painted on the side.

According to the Sheriff's report, Gustafson was going off shift when the incident allegedly occurred.

Since Fish and Game Conservation officers were unavailable, oncoming Patrol Deputy Wayne Westbrook was called to respond.

On arriving, he found a large buck deer that had been freshly shot. Westbrook gathered evidence at the scene, and at Sheriff Voyles' direction turned it over to Fish and Game Conservation Officer Brian Johnson.

According to Johnson, Sheriff Deputy Gustafson was fully cooperative and remorseful, and gave a full confession.

Johnson said the Sheriff's Office was extremely cooperative, and praised Westbrook for an excellent job investigating the incident.

The deer meat was turned over to the Gleaners for distribution to charity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The very same day the above article was published, two Boundary County men were jailed (6 month sentences) and fined $500 each for unlawfully hunting with artificial lights and trespassing. (The FOOLS didn't even bag a deer!)

What is wrong with this picture, Mr Huffaker?

Did Gustafson's offense not warrant an arrest?

I realize you cannot control how "Fast & Loose" the Boundary County Sheriffs' Department manipulates the Law. Apparently nobody can. ;-/

But, rest assured...ANY average Joe would have been handcuffed on the spot.

I spoke to an IDF&G Officer in your CD'A Office earlier this week. He informed me that it was the obligation of the Special Prosecutor, as to what, if any, charges would be pursued.

Mr Huffaker, forgive me, but I'm not so naive as to believe that the decision to prosecute Gustafson rests SOLELY with Special Prosecutor!

That dog don't hunt. ;-/ Your Department wields tremendous influence. We both know that!

IDF&G owes it to the Taxpayers to see this Poaching crime prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Law.

Confession or not,

IDF&G owes it to the Taxpayers to THWART any Sweetheart Deals in the Sentencing Recommendation of Gustafson.

Will IDF&G allow this entire incident to be swept quietly under the rug?

Will IDF&G resist the temptation of BLATANT NEPOTISM, and see this "Cousin Officer" punished as any other citizen would be?

We, the People, shall see.

Many average Idaho Citizens' eyes are upon the resolution of this Poaching Incident, Mr. Huffaker.

Please step up to the plate, Sir.

 

It's not too much to ask. Please see to it that "Justice for All" really means something...

Even in a Case that your CD'A Division couldn't care less about. ;-/

Sincerely,
Mary Hayden

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Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Shooting from the road, with lights, in a marked vehicle, out of season. confused?

Did the guy expect anything less than to get caught? He is either brazen or unstable, but the net result is the same.

Conspiracy theories aside, Heath is squarely in the hot seat and because of his stature they will probably make an example out of him just to show the system works.

I realize your pretty P.O.'d Mary (and rightly), but just because they didn't immediately fine and sentence him right then and there doesn't mean that it will be a good ol' boy case. Due process is a right and takes awhile even when the accused have admitted to the crime.

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Joined: 01/21/2004
Posts: 3
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

As the former deputy who was involved in this incident I must say some things. Nothing was swept under any rug. I resigned my position because of this incident. A letter of apology from myself to the citizens of Boundary County was printed in the local paper. This apology was heartfelt and sincere. There is prosecution. I pled guilty to the charges on 01/12/04. There were no "sweetheart" deals or any other kind of deals for that matter. I take full responsibility for making a bad choice. I had a serious lapse in judgement and have no excuses. Sincerely Heath Gustafson

bitmasher's picture
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Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Wow! The internet truly is a small place.

It has to be a bit surreal to find your name on the internet with people you don't know and never will all pontificating about you (myself included)...

Your story adds up:
Deputy caught poaching resigns, apologizes

Ex-deputy arraigned on poaching charges

Offline
Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

How kind of former Deputy Gustafson to resign...How KIND of the BCSO to ALLOW him to resign!

Every round spent from Gustafson's Assault Rifle, the Assault Rifle, iteslf, AND the vehicle was OWNED (and accounted for) BY BCSO. Yet they "allowed" him to resign 3 days after the incident?

By "resigning", he is able to apply for almost ANY Deputy job throughout the Country. And the fact that the State is treating this case as a MISDEMEANOR is a HUGE FAVOR to Gustafson!

Remember Folks...this was a TROPHY BUCK with a HIGH DOLLAR VALUE.

"Joe Public" would have been hand-cuffed and arrested ON THE SPOT. "Joe Public" would be facing FELONY Charges.

You used to carry the handcuffs...Don't you agree, Heath?

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