Three Utah Hunters Face Felony Charges

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Two poaching cases in northern Utah are a sad reminder that poaching is a wasteful activity that reduces opportunities for ethical hunters. Witnesses provide valuable information.

A mountain goat that had been killed illegally

This mountain goat — killed illegally in 2008 on Mountain Holly in southern Utah — is similar to the goats a hunter killed illegally near Ben Lomond Peak in September. The hunter had a permit to take one goat near Ben Lomond Peak. But he ended up killing three.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources photo

And, if you're the person who commits the violation, poaching can empty your bank account and put you behind bars.

  • On Sept. 17, a father and his son recklessly fired their rifles at a herd of 60 pronghorn antelope on the Woodruff Wildlife Management Area in Rich County. After the shooting was over, five pronghorn—three bucks and two does—were dead.

    Each man had a permit to take a doe. But neither man had a permit to take a buck.

  • On Sept. 10, a hunter shot three mountain goats near Ben Lomond Peak.

His permit allowed him to take only one goat.

Fortunately, sportsmen were in both areas and knew what occurred. They gave Division of Wildlife Resources officers additional details about the incidents that the poachers were not willing to give the investigators initially.

The details the sportsmen gave were essential in determining how severe the charges filed against the violators should be.

Phil Douglass, a regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR, says both cases are examples of concerned sportsmen who reported what they saw and were willing to testify. "Both incidents took place in very remote areas," Douglass says. "One suspect expressed amazement to officers that other hunters had witnessed [what he did] and reported his wasteful actions."

Fines, and no more hunting

Douglass says Utahns highly value their wildlife and the opportunities they have to see and ethically pursue game animals responsibly and legally. "Public laws enacted through the Utah Legislature reflect those values," Douglass says.

All three violators are facing potential third degree felony charges. Third degree felonies carry a fine of up to $5,000 and a jail sentence of up to five years.

The violators also face restitution fines of $6,000 per mountain goat and $400 per pronghorn. And they might lose their hunting privileges in Utah and the other states involved in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

By Nov. 1, a total of 37 states will be part of the compact.

How to report wildlife crimes

"We need your help to protect your wildlife," says DWR Captain Rick Olson.

With many of Utah's hunting seasons in full swing, Olson says it's vital that you report any suspicious activity you see. You can report this activity one of three ways:

Witnessing a violation

  • If you see a wildlife violation occur, calling Utah's Turn in a Poacher hotline is the best way to get an officer to the scene.

    The hotline—1-800-662-3337—is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    If you can't remember the UTiP number, pull out your Utah hunting or fishing license or permit. The number is written on the license or permit.

    Olson says when you call 1-800-662-3337, the person who takes your call will patch you through to the DWR officer nearest to where the incident is occurring.

    DWR officers also have computers in their vehicles. As soon as a call is received, information from the caller appears on the computer screens of every DWR officer in the state.

  • If you can't remember the UTiP number, and you don't have your license or permit with you because you're not hunting or fishing, call the nearest police dispatch center.

    The center will send a DWR officer or another law enforcement officer to the scene.

Sharing information

  • If you find something suspicious—for example, a big game animal that's missing its head—or if you have any other information you want to share about a possible wildlife violation, you can report it two ways:

Olson says if you send information through the Web page or the email address, officers won't receive the information immediately. "If you need to get in touch with us right away," he says, "call 1-800-662-3337."

Comments

Retired2hunt's picture

  I am with GoodHunter Jr on

 

I am with GoodHunter Jr on jail time for poachers - mandatory jail time.  You have to make it so the punishment deters the individual from doing the poaching.  Fines are a great start but they should compliment a mandatory jail time.  Just my opinion.  Maybe if enough people had to pay the high price of jail time and fines then we would read less about poached animals.

 

Retired2hunt's picture

  A tremedous loss of great

 

A tremedous loss of great wildlife to poachers who were too eager to kill in mass rather to hunt the prey based on the individual animal.  I hope all of the criminals learn their lesson and become teachers to the future generations of hunters.

Many of these great animals are of limited numbers.  To open fire amongst a small herd is reckless and only shows they are not fit to be ethical hunters for many years in the future - thus large fines and long suspensions of their licenses within the USA.

Great applause the the ethical hunters and individuals who took their time out to provide the information which concluded definite information in the capture, fining, and jail time of these criminals.  Thanks goes to you law-abiding people that go out of your way to ensure that all of us can enjoy the sport of hunting legally.

 

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow!  I can't think of

Wow!  I can't think of anything else to say.  As a father, I hope to instill in my sons all the morals that I grew up with.  I think that is what should be expected of all dads. However, to read about this father and son who shot into a crowd of goats, and killed 5?  What were they thinking?  Talk about unethical!  The father is doing nothing but turning his son into another poacher, and it is sickening!

The other thing, is that these tags are premium tags in most states, and I can't imagine that anyone who would be serious enough to put in for it, and draw it, that they would jeopardize that hunt by doing something so blatantly wrong.  Maybe he wanted to spend more quality time with him working off community service or something.

Some people....Ugh!

GooseHunter Jr's picture

These poaches cases are

These poaches cases are really starting to wear on me.  While the fines are a great way for the states to recoup some of the costs lost by the taking the animal illegally, but I am wondering if you still fine them but you start making it a mandatory jail time for offenses.  Some of these guys might have more money that time and maybe some time behind bars will changes their ways and maybe make others  think twice about knowing if they get caught the will goto jail no matter what.  I also think they should all be required to do some sort of community service for the state in a wildlife related postion.  make them speak at some seminars about the downfalls of poachig.

SGM's picture

What is wrong with these people?

These stories make me sick everytime I see one. I really wish these article would stop calling these people hunters as they are not, they are poachers! Head line should read POACHERS killed or Poachers facing charges. Saying hunters gives us all a bad name that sticks in peoples mind and fuels the antis. If someone kills someone with a base ball bat you do not see a headline reading "Ball player kills man", it reads man killed with a bat. I just hate being lumped into that group. Killing 3 goats or firing into a heard or antelope is totally stupid and uncalled for. What a waste of some fine aninals and what a loss to other hunters down the line. How much ego or greed does it take to do this? I hope all these poachers get hammered with max fines as none of this was by accident.

numbnutz's picture

When will people start being

When will people start being responsible. I hope these three people get the book thrown at them. I'm still mad after reading this story. They had tags to take animals but just couldn't take one like there tags allowed. I don't understand the need to break the law like that. I really hope that they do loose the privlages for life. I know they wouldn't be coming here since OR is part of the wildlife pact. I'm glad the witnesses stepped up to catch these guys. Congrats to law enforcement for doing a good job on this case.

hunter25's picture

Once again a ridiculous

Once again a ridiculous poaching case. These guys actually had a tag however but still just couldn't stop themselves from breaking the law. What could come over a person that they just start shooting and don't stop until everything available is down? I just don't understand people like this. Hopefully they will be punished appropriately for the crime and will never get the chance to do it again.