South Dakota Gets Poacher From Facebook Post

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What started as a posting on the social media website Facebook, turned into the investigation of a South Dakota hunting trip. The investigation focused on fraudulent purchase of resident big game hunting licenses by nonresidents and illegal possession of big game. The investigation led to the conviction of two Mississippi men for multiple hunting violations in South Dakota.

A Mississippi wildlife conservation officer provided information to conservation officers in South Dakota that suggested a group from Mississippi was planning a trip to Harding County in northwestern South Dakota and may be hunting illegally.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department Conservation Officers Jim McCormick and Keith Mutschler opened an investigation which resulted in the seizure of ten illegally taken deer. In a cooperative effort between South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, several suspects and witnesses were interviewed in Mississippi in May of 2010.

As a result of the investigation, two individuals from Mississippi -- Wilson Windham and Weston Windham -- each pled guilty to five counts of unlawful possession of big game and one count each for violations of the Federal Lacy Act.

The total fines, costs and restitution assessed in a combination of state and federal charges amounted to $19,456. Each individual received 150 days jail (suspended), 360 days probation and three years hunting revocation. The hunting revocation is valid in the 36 states that are currently members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact including the Windham's home state of Mississippi.


groovy mike's picture

What sort of idiot is dumb enough to brag on public access!

Congratulations to the state of South Dakota’s Conservation Department on the conviction of these two.  What sort of idiot is dumb enough to brag on a public access website that they have committed and illegal act?  Not just one illegal deer but TEN of them.  And didn’t we just see a very similar case in Florida like yesterday?  What are these guys thinking?  How dumb can you get.  They deserve to be locked up for criminal stupidity as well as poaching.  They are a danger to themselves!   In some states the informer gets a piece of the fine as a reward for reporting poaching.  Sometimes fellow poachers rat each other out for the money!  But thanks to social media someone could just go surf hunting pictures and check the date stamps against open season dates to refer the poachers to law enforcement for prosecution.  I bet you could rack up thousands of dollars with a couple hours of effort!  Out of work?  There you go – a new hobby in conservation for you!  Of course I did have one digital camera that displayed the same date all year every year so I guess it would not be a slam dunk conviction.  Never mind, there is a flaw in my plan for the tip line entrepreneurs, but I bet law enforcement agencies are already employing similar tactics.