Montana Man Pleads Guilty in Idaho Elk Poaching Case

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A Montana man entered a guilty plea before Fourth Judicial District Judge Patrick Owen in Boise County court Thursday, January 13.

Gary A. Parrett, 36, of Great Falls, Mont., was charged with taking two bull elk in a closed season, the wanton waste of two bull elk, and hunting elk without the proper tag. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of unlawful possession of two or more big game animals within a 12 month period. The remaining misdemeanor charges were dismissed.

The case originated in October 2008 when a hunter called the Citizens Against Poaching hotline to report two bull elk he found by Bad Bear Campground, northeast of Idaho City. The elks' antlers had been removed and the meat left to waste.

Senior Conservation Officer Rob Brazie said that with the help of hunters and people in the Idaho City community he was able to track down Parrett at his Boise residence in the summer of 2009.

Brazie and other southwest region conservation officers served a search warrant on the residence and found the racks from the two mature bulls on the wall at Parrett's house. Parrett confessed to killing the bulls and hunting in the closed unit. He said he and his partner had packed out both sets of antlers, one front shoulder and the backstraps, leaving most of the elk meat on the mountain.

The larger of the elk, a six-by-six bull was in the trophy category, scoring more than 300 Boone and Crocket points. A felony conviction carries penalties of up to $50,000 in fines, five years in the state penitentiary and a lifetime revocation of hunting privileges. There is also $7,000 in civil penalties as restitution to the state for the poached elk.

Parrett will be sentenced in Boise County February 10.