58 replies [Last post]
Location: Idaho
Joined: 09/20/2003
Posts: 138
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

I haven’t seen anything close to anti government in this discussion. IMO if you read peoples questioning double standards as anti government then maybe our government needs fixed as well.
IMO this man should be sentenced to the very extreme of the poaching law and then 10 years and 5000 dollars added to that for blatant disregard of the law And the open contempt he had for the public he was supposed to be serving .on second thought that’s not enough either.
do i want his balls , no !
I want all his guns, his truck and his job thats what i want

[ This Message was edited by: captchee on 2004-01-25 18:14 ]

Location: Idaho
Joined: 12/29/2003
Posts: 74
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

(Grin!) I'm a Buck Master now. Whodda thunk it?

LOL, Captchee...Tell us what you really think! Wink

I'll get an online Petition set up in the next few days. Any and all can repond. Heck, I'll even email it (and the results) to Director Huffaker.

Thanks for the suggestion, Captchee!

Quicksilver's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 05/03/2003
Posts: 238
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Go ahead mismary, sing me your patriotic song, and show me your dance!! You have just opened up a new can of worms in your delicate kitchen.Grin

The heat is getting hot, far from Idaho, and is now burning up national forums!!

I support Heath’s apology, as for the apology, that should not be held as an error, or passed off as poor judgment. BUT we can all see, “Until We Meet Again….”, as being not so much Anti Government, but more so on the crazy side!!

We can run ourselves in circles screaming “Justice for All” until we’re blue in the face, but that will only give us a head rush until we pass out… Now that might give me a raise, but lets just keep that between mismary and I!! Wink

I can honestly say the Mr. Gustafson received massive preferential treatment and had that been myself, or one of my family members, we would have been wearing decorative stripes running the wrong way!!

There are larger issues at hand and it is ignorant to believe that Mr. Gustafson's judgment, whether right or wrong, is going to change the fact that millions of wild game is poached around the world. Heath has admitted to, taken responsibility, had been viewed by everyone on this forum, including myself, but is this going to change the fact that Poaching is out of control? Mr. Gustafson is just one of a few poachers that was actually caught…. What about the other million or so that is at large? Mismary, Do you think those poachers really care about what happens to Mr. Gustafson or Boundary County Sheriffs? confused?

Lets not get tunnel vision…. The problem is much broader than Idaho and mismary land! eye roll

I’m not one to hold the fat kid back from her cake, so go ahead and fire away, enforce our freedom of speech!! :eek:

Go get’em Buck Master!! razz
Never take life to seriously... You'll never get out alive!!

[ This Message was edited by: Quicksilver on 2004-01-25 20:27 ]

bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Heath should get the full fine and then no work in an authority position (cop, officer, security guard, etc). This is typical of any profession where an offender breaks the code of their own profession (disbarment, loss of right to practice, etc). Jail time depending on prior record, with none if he has a clean record. My two cent opinion as the honorable judge bitmasher.

I'm troubled by the general opinion expressed by others that sentencing guidelines and prior history should simply be thrown out in this case. Throwing out the law book is a miscarriage of justice greater than if Heath had walked off scott free. What some are proposing is the beginning of mob mentality, which cares little about fact and a lot about revenge.

Mismary, if corruption in your local government runs as deep as you state, I suggest organizing and voting out the sheriff. It sounds like your heading in that direction anyway. Perhaps the sheriff's office in your area is corrupt, any yay or nay on my part would be foolish because I simply don't know. However, I've spent time reading about Heath's case from online articles and I fail to see how any of it suggests corruption or he is being treated differently.

Captchee, while I don't agree with your solution for Heath, your point that he was caught red handed is important.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2004-01-25 23:28 ]

Location: Idaho
Joined: 09/20/2003
Posts: 138
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Bitmasher please take my anger for what it is anger.
I am very frustrated that an agency that I grew up and still take somewhat of an active part in is so corrupt and not much more then just a paper target.

Just As a point I new "Conley elms and bill poge" one was a man who would bring us candy every time he came to our home. The other was the type that would pull the trolley bridge back across the river just so you would get wet after you mother told you not to.
I could tell you stories about that man that would make you scream in anger, yet his face is plastered in the halls of the HQ of the IDFG department. You know how many officers showed up at a dinner put on for him by the IFGD HQ?
One man and his family

IMO there should be laws just as we have for common people who make common mistakes. Then on top of that a sentence should carry an even higher penalty if the person involved is in a law enforcement position who not only breaks the law but go out of their way to just be [email protected]# holes.

I can remember riding with my father in the 70's, he would pull up to a hunting camp say IDFG anyone in camp and usually people would come out to meet him with coffee in hand. It would take days to cover just his area, as most everyone wanted to talk and ask questions. They never wore side arms and allot of the time their badge was in wallet.
Now days they all ware badges and guns and you hardly ever see them why?
Is it because people have gotten out of hand or is it because people like this poacher we are talking about now wear badges?
Or is it that we can no longer trust those officers because of the corruption among them and the threat they can pose .

Tell me what should the cost of having to live like that be ?

IMO penalties should match the crime and in this case not only was the crime poaching but also one of disrespect, disregard and loss of faith in a system that’s supposed to protect us.
I personally watched Mr. poge force a man to the ground and cuff him in front of his 6-year-old son, all over not having his wallet in his back pocket. While I was watching my father found this mans wallet along the door of his truck right where he said it must have falling when getting out .
Respect is all it takes.

As to other poachers if they are truly poachers then the bars need to be slammed and hard.
As to his apologue, great, was it hart felt? I don’t know would it matter if it was you or I in his position, no I don’t believe it would.
I have heard it all before

Judge: Mr. X while I feel you apology is hart felt the situation is that you have committed this crime
In the light of all this I sentence you to X

[ This Message was edited by: captchee on 2004-01-26 14:14 ]

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 591
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Did the guy shoot a deer or a person? Wholly cow!! The guy made a mistake and he's paying for it but put it in perspective. He shot a DEER!

The tone of this thread has gone from preventing a guy from getting away clean because he was a deputy to he should be hung publicly at town square. If he was getting away with it and it was being 'swept under the rug' I would understand all the fuss. That didn't happen people. He was punished and it sounds like he's paying for it pretty much like Joe Blow would. Even though poaching is an arrestable offense I don't here of that happening very often. Anybody care to venture why? Well jails are filled to brim with more serious criminals. Even though it can be charged as a felony, in Utah that doesn't always mean it will end up as a felony in court. Its not uncommon especially when someone is remoursful to be a misdemeanor.

He was charged and hes not a deputy with that agency anymore. I'd say move on and put your voice towards some rapists and murderers.

I hate poaching and it really urks me too, but I don't believe in chopping a mans hand off for stealing a candybar either. Did someone say he should spend 10 years in jail? Unbelievable!!!!

Location: Utah
Joined: 10/12/2003
Posts: 25
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

"Even though poaching is an arrestable offense I don't here of that happening very often"

Rather be huntin, where have you been? I have read many reports of poaching and not only are the suspects jailed, but their vehicle, firearm and any thing else of value confiscated. Not to mention the big fines and loss of hunting privledges. Wyoming has just increased a reward for a moose poacher and I bet that guy or gal, when found is immediately arrested and will pay BIG!

While hunting antelope this year, I witnessed a whole truck load of guys in cuffs because they poached a bunch of Sage Grouse. Cuffed at the side of the road for all to see.

If you would like a sample of what poachers get when caught, read through the news articles at the Wyoming Fish and Game website. Wyoming is brutal on poachers as they should be.

The meaning of this thread as I see it: People are sick and tired of "trusted" members of our community being protected while us normal folk are sentenced according to the law.

I do not see the anger of mrsmary as pointed towards an individual but rather towards a system. Those of you with the theory that somehow what she is doing will not help to curb the problem of poaching in general are dead wrong. For you to assume such a thing would mean you believe that this officer is the only poacher with a badge. If you're going to be a criminal, the best way to get away with criminal behavior is to wear a badge.

I don't know about taking this guys nuts, but I think he should have been charged with a felony and arrested on the spot by the fish and game department - which is exactly what would have happened to me if I were the culprit.

Oh, by the way, I do think this thread has been informative. I have spent an hour or so looking up the definitions of a lot of really fancy words. Can't wait to use em!

Happy Huntin

[ This Message was edited by: jshutah on 2004-01-26 18:05 ]

Location: Idaho
Joined: 09/20/2003
Posts: 138
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Ok lets take a good look at this.
First its not just that this guy was a poacher in fact overall it has very little to do with him. I see it as this.
1) This man poached a trophy animal.” Felony"
2) This man used a firearm while committing a crime "felony"
3) This man use a government vehicle while committing a crime 'felony? Not sure I know its illegal"
4) This man committed a crime while not only in uniform but maybe still on duty as a police officer.
5) A crime was reported to the local authority who then reported it to the local IDFG, CO. That CO then seen fit to let the very office that was accused of being involved in the crime investigate it.
6) Not only was the criminal not thrown in jail but also he was aloud to resign which is completely different then being fired for committing a crime while on duty.
7) The IDFG CO of the area as far as I know has never been question as to why he chose the avenues he did.
:cool: And lastly this criminal because of his contacts has been given a way lighter sentence from my understanding then what any of us here would have been given for the same crime.

To me that’s about the jest of it?
Now my question is this WHY!

cowgal's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/10/2002
Posts: 1787
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

I've been resisting the temptation to jump in the middle of this thread... but I can't resist, so here's my two cents worth.

Most poachers are not caught. The reason I believe that to be true is simply due to the fact that poaching takes place out in the country, mountains, etc, usually away from witnesses. However, when a poacher is caught, they are made an example of. I know in Colorado that seems to be the case.

I'm totally opposed to poaching, I believe it gives hunting a big black eye in the press/media. However, I do believe that punishment for poaching (as with all crimes) should be commensurate to the deed. Meaning a first time offender with no prior criminal history, should be given a more lenient sentence then someone that is a repeat offender.

Not knowing the situation in Idaho or how Idaho handles poaching violations in general, I really cannot comment on the fairness or lack of in this particular case.

bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

I understand the anger and frustation expressed above. But some of you are so hopping mad your forgetting the facts.

Fact 1. There was no plea bargin. He plead guilty and confessed in full.

Fact 2. Heath resigned. Resigning means no job.

Fact 3. There has not been a sentence handed down. Sentencing is 2/12. How can anybody say he got off light if there is no sentence yet to judge?

Fact 4. Heath is facing:

- Minimum mandatory fine of $2300
- Possible jail time
- Possible loss of hunting license for life

Fact 5. What Heath is facing is typical:


- Juveniles Charged in Wildlife Violations
Six poachers, trespassing, all spotlighting, all out of season. Charge: flagrant misdemeanor

- Trophy Mule Deer Poachers Charged
Two poachers, trespassing, spotlighting, trophy game killes. Charge: Identical to Heath's.


- Poaching Conviction
Three poachers, out of season, trophy game. Conviction (after plea bargin): $6,250 fine each, suspended 10 day jail time, loss of hunting license for five years.

- Bragging Elk Poacher Busted
One poacher, out of season, trespassing, trophy game. Conviction (after plea bargin) $5,000 fine ($3,500 suspended), 30 day suspended jail sentence, one year probabtion,
loss of hunting license for five years.


This is one of the worst poaching cases ever to hit Colorado and is orders of magnitude greater than the Gustafson case.

45 trophy class game killed, spans two states, poaching occurred over nearly a decade. Conviction: $30,000 fine, 5 years in Federal prison (part of which because of a felony charge of illegal machine gun possession) I post this story, because of the convicted's total disregard for the law or wildlife. Even in this case the conviction does not reach anywhere near what some of you are proposing.

I'm in no way an apologist for Heath. I want to see him sentenced as others would be, but some of you are acting like unless he got a billy-club in the back in the paddy-wagon and is serving 40 to life that justice has not been served. I completely disagree.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2004-01-26 21:11 ]

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