Utah DOW Hands Down Stiff Penalties for Poaching

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As night fell on the evening of Oct. 14, 2006, Division of Wildlife Resources Conservation Officer Kip King encountered two elk hunters. The hunters were packing the head of a trophy bull elk and some of the animal's meat.

King became suspicious. He asked the two men — Marshall Lindsay and Roger Nix, both of Wellsville — to go with him the following day to the spot where they killed the animal. King would help them retrieve the elk and pack it out.

Lindsay and Nix accepted King's offer, but the following day they refused to cooperate.

After the men refused to cooperate, King started a search to find the elk. A total of 59 hours were spent hiking, riding all-terrain vehicles and driving trucks in an effort to find the carcass. Officers also spent 13 hours flying over the area in a helicopter.

Despite their intense search efforts, wildlife officers could not find the carcass, which the hunters had hid from sight.

Elk carcass discovered

On Nov. 7, while guiding a cow elk hunter, Lawrence Huffaker located the elk carcass the officers had been looking for in the bottom of Meachum Canyon, on the Deseret Land and Livestock Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit.

Huffaker contacted the appropriate authorities.

Tips from concerned citizens like Huffaker make a huge difference in solving poaching crimes. Cases initiated by citizens through Utah's Help Stop Poaching Hotline (1-800-662-DEER [3337]) are a high priority with DWR conservation officers.

The DWR has 44 field officers throughout Utah. Each of their patrol districts averages more than 2,000 square miles. Help from the public is critical in helping these officers solve wildlife-related cases.

In this case, the tip from Huffaker was crucial. It allowed King to collect the evidence he needed for a case. That evidence led to Nix's and Lindsay's conviction, and punishment and restitution for their crime.

Sentencing

On March 27, 2007, the two men appeared in the 1st District Court in Randolph for their sentencing hearing.

Lindsay was placed on probation and ordered to serve 30 days in jail. He'll spend 15 of those days in the Rich County Jail. The remaining 15 days will be served as work release in the Weber County Jail, at Lindsay's own expense.

Lindsay was also fined $2,000. In addition, he and Nix will pay $8,000 in joint restitution for the elk they killed.

Lindsay was also ordered to serve 240 hours of community service at the Cache Valley Public Shooting Range and at the Tremonton gun range.

Nix was also placed on probation and was ordered to serve seven days in the Rich County Jail. He was fined $2,000 and will join with Lindsay in paying the $8,000 restitution.

Nix was also ordered to serve 120 hours of community service. Judge Judkins of the 1st District Court recommended Nix provide his service at the Cache Valley Public Shooting Range and/or at the Tremonton gun range.