South Dakota Violators Pay Big for 2009 Antelope Hunt

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A routine stop by a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks conservation officer has resulted in hefty fines for several people found guilty of wildlife crimes.

Game, Fish and Parks Conservation Officer Josh Carr was working in western Stanley County on Oct. 18, 2009, when he came across a group of pheasant hunters. While doing a routine license check, he determined that the hunters were returning from antelope hunting in western South Dakota. Carr discovered numerous violations of wildlife laws, and initiated an investigation.

Over the course of the next several months, GFP officers worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on multiple investigations, including several interviews with members of the hunting party.

The hunters were involved in "party hunting," lending hunting licenses, harvesting antelope without licenses, violating the Federal Lacey Act, illegal possession of game, and other wildlife crimes on public land or Walk-In areas in Butte and Harding counties.

The investigations led to prosecutions for those wildlife crimes, and the following people ultimately were found guilty of various violations:

  • Randy Malterud, 44, of Watertown, S.D. Fraud to obtain a big game license, unlawful possession of big game and failure to tag big game. Fines and court costs of $852, one-year loss of hunting privileges
  • Glynn Grantham, 35, of Houston,Texas. Misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act, $525 fine, $8,000 in restitution
  • Wesley Grantham, 42, of Hayti, S.D. Five counts of unlawful possession of big game, $500 fine and court costs, 30 days in jail, 30 days suspended, one-year of loss of hunting privileges
  • Brian Willard, 42, of West Des Moines,Iowa. Misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act, $525 fine, $3,000 in restitution and forfeit antelope meat
  • Kenneth Willard, 68, of Wray, Colo. Misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act, $525 fine and forfeit antelope meat
  • Michael Schwartz, 39, of Watertown, S.D. Transportation of big game without head or hide, $127 fine and court costs
  • Jonathan Fox, 29 of Cypress, Texas. Improper tagging of game, $135 fine and court costs
  • Chad Olson, 38, of Watertown, S.D. Lending a big game tag, $300 fine and court costs, five days jail, five days suspended, one-year loss of hunting privileges

"Perhaps the most disturbing part of this incident was the number of youth involved in the hunt," said GFP Conservation Officer Supervisor John Murphy. "While none of the youth were charged with wildlife crimes, the actions of the adults in the group set a very poor example for the young hunters."

Prosecutions were handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Stanley County State's Attorney Office, Harding County State's Attorney Office, and Codington County State's Attorney Office.