6 replies [Last post]
Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Deputy Sheriff poaches Whitetail Buck while ON DUTY. U

Sad...but VERY True:

Here's an article from the Bonners Ferry Herald Newspaper, dated 12/18/03:


Boundary County Sheriff George Voyles placed a patrol deputy on suspension pending an internal investigation after he wa charged with Idaho Fish and Game violations for illegally taking a Deer early Monday morning.

Heath Gustafson was cited for Shooting from the roadway, Shooting a deer with the use of artificial lights and for taking a deer out of season.

Sheriff's dispatchers received a report around 12:11 am of a poacher, south of Naples, driving a white Ford Explorer with the word "Sheriff" painted on the side.

According to the Sheriff's report, Gustafson was going off shift when the incident allegedly occurred.

Since Fish and Game Conservation officers were unavailable, oncoming Patrol Deputy Wayne Westbrook was called to respond.

On arriving, he found a large buck deer that had been freshly shot. Westbrook gathered evidence at the scene, and at Sheriff Voyles' direction turned it over to Fish and Game Conservation Officer Brian Johnson.

According to Johnson, Sheriff Deputy Gusatfson was fully cooperative and remorseful, and gave a full confession.

Johnson said the Sheriff's Office was extremely cooperative, and praised Westbrook for an excellent job investigating the incident.

The deer meat was turned over to the Gleaners for distribution to charity.

Does anyone else find this entire incident anything LESS than outrageous?

I called the Coeur D'Alene branch of Idaho Fish and Game and spoke with an Officer directly involved in the review of this "citation." He was quite vague as to whether this crime was a misdemeanor or a felony. He sounded "put out" that an Idaho Citizen would be concerned about how this incident would be resolved. He did assure me that a Special Prosecutor had been asigned. (for all the good that will do. ;-/ )

I'm not familiar with the code pertaining to the unlawful taking of big Game, so maybe you all can give me a clue here?

When a Sheriff's Deputy shoots a deer off-season, from the roadway, using artificial lights with a department-issued rifle while still on duty, is it a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

INCREDULOUSY, the very same day the above article was published, two Boundary County men were jailed (6 month sentences) and fined $500 each for unlawfully hunting with artificial lights and trespassing. (The FOOLS didn't even bag a deer!)

What is wrong with this picture?

Any average Joe would have been arrested on the spot! Not Deputy Gustafson. Seems like there are TWO sets of Rules in Boundary County.

Whatever happened to Justice for ALL?

I will be posting the email addresses and phone numbers of the Officials involved in the possible prosecution this "citation".

Deputy Gustafson should be afforded NO special treatment. As a Law Enforcement Officer, he should be held to the HIGHEST of standards!

Without public pressure, this entire incident will be swept quietly under the rug. For once, I'd like to see justice served.

I'm sick of the corruption that runs rampant in our small, rural community.

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

ADKBEAR's picture
Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
Posts: 821
Idaho Deputy Sheriff poaches Whitetail Buck while ON DUTY. U

You go Mary.
Sometimes Law enforcement forget that they are public servents and should not get preferential treatment.

Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Deputy Sheriff poaches Whitetail Buck while ON DUTY. U

Thanks for your encouragement!

I've sent email messages regarding this incident to every Idaho newspaper, big & small.

If anyone else cares to voice their opinions about this Deputy's Poaching, please email the Powers That Be at the addresses posted below.

Idaho Fish and Game email:

[email protected]
Special Prosecutor Phil Robinson's email:

[email protected]

The Idaho Fish and Game Officer informed me that whether this case is prosecuted or not is at the discretion of Special Prosecutor Phil Robinson.

Now, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I know full well that IF&G can push for prosecution. If they don't, these charges probably will just go away.

Location: williamstown vt
Joined: 08/30/2003
Posts: 293
Idaho Deputy Sheriff poaches Whitetail Buck while ON DUTY. U

chances are the sheriff will get off with slap on the wrist, If charges get pressed or pursued ill be surprised,(if things havnt already- - I.E. being this was couple weeks ago)he shouldnt be treated any differently then anyone else!! He's sopposed to be out making sure bad things arent happening not doing them!!

Joined: 10/29/2003
Posts: 241
Idaho Deputy Sheriff poaches Whitetail Buck while ON DUTY. U

It's all who you know... Sometimes if fair & just, sometimes not.

Joined: 10/12/2003
Posts: 19
Idaho Deputy Sheriff poaches Whitetail Buck while ON DUTY. U

What about using a county owned vehicle in the crime? Mabey the state should impound the vehicle and the gun used?

It is sad to say that law enforcement has become a form of organized crime all over the country. They cover each other and it all gets pushed under the rug. There are a few "Good Guys" left but they are greatly out numbered.

Good Luck and hope your efforts pay off!

saskie's picture
Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
Idaho Deputy Sheriff poaches Whitetail Buck while ON DUTY. U

A similar incident happened in Halifax a few years ago, except they on duty and within city-limits, and to top it all off - they shot it with their service pistol! They were disciplined internally for the illegal use of service firearm and using company time for personal reasons.

In addition they faced all the Wildlife Act charges that would apply if you or I shot a deer with a handgun (illegal in Canada), at night, out-of-season and within city limits.

[ This Message was edited by: saskie on 2004-01-20 12:18 ]

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