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

Hi All,

To avoid the risk of sounding adversarial, I'll do my best reply without exclamation points. Wink

To jshutah: Thank you for accurately interpreting my frame of mind and my intent. By placing this Issue up for public scrutiny, maybe it will put a small dent in the crime of poaching.

By the same token, maybe people will stand up and start questioning Authority and take a vested interest.... not in Law, but in Justice.

ALL dialogue is beneficial. Good, Bad, or Indifferent, this is how we connect...and STAY connected.

To Captchee: Cyber (((hug))) I believe your heart is in the right place. I support your voice to be heard.

To Bitmasher: I sincerely appreciate your rational demeanor.
However, I'd like to clarify what I consider major oversights in your last reply.

Re: Fact 1: True, but misleading. There is no overt "Plea Bargain" on the table. However, by sheer virtue of the simple misdemeanors charged, there can be no doubt he's already received preferential treatment.

Re: Fact 2: True, but misleading. Heath resigned. However, by being allowed to resign, he is free to pursue any one of a million other jobs in Law Enforcement. No big Red Flags on his Resume. No Sireee. ;-/

Re: Fact 3: True. I will attend his Sentencing Hearing, right along side Sheriff Voyles. I'll be there as an interested observer. Voyles will be there to support leniency for Heath. I was told this by George Voyles, personally.

Let's see if the Poaching Laws really have teeth, or if they're just wearing dentures.

Re: Fact 4: True

Re: Fact 5: False. Please reread my original post. The local outfitters can back me up with dozens of true stories. And after the final resolution on Feb. 12, 2004, I'll document accurate Courthouse Records on Poaching Violations. Enough said.

Now, with regard to the link you posted about the "Idaho Trophy Mule Deer Poachers Charged" and stating that the charges were "Identical to Gustafsons"....I again feel that statements is misleading.

First of all, call me a stickler, but the two defendants were juveniles. And secondly, the sentencing was still "pending" as per the article, dated 2003. Dang...I guess I'll have to dig a little deeper. That's just my nature. I accept very little at face value (unless I know the face well) and I adore folks from Missouri. Wink

Bitmasher...if you feel my "stickling" is flawed, please feel free to elaborate my error.

I can genuinely admit when I'm wrong and also agree to disagree.
For all the 500 plus views of this thread, only a handful of folks have replied. That's perfectly ok. But it also reminds me that, sadly, the silent majority chooses to stay silent.

Personally, I'm open to ALL opinions. I especially appreciated the heartfelt words from those who HAVE been-there-done-that.

I also have no problem ignoring he who would stoop to derogatory adjectives via ignorance compounded by testosterone overload.
It's water off a legally-taken Duck's Back.Wink

Just for the redundant Record: I'm simply disgusted with this crime. I don't can worms and I have no personal animosity toward Heath Gustafson. I certainly have no interest in anyone's gonads. 8-/

LOL! I can't believe I just said that, and I used an exclamation point, to boot! Mea Culpa! Oh crap..there I go again! Wink

[ This Message was edited by: mismary on 2004-01-27 04:23 ]

[ This Message was edited by: mismary on 2004-01-27 04:29 ]

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

Quote:


On 2004-01-26 18:00, jshutah wrote:
"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.

The stories you are reading are high profile cases most of the time. Also some species are much more protected than others like poaching a moose is much more severe than poaching a deer. I am in law enforcement and have two family members who are or used to be officers for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR does the majority of patroling of our mountains and handling poaching cases in Utah. In my spare time I volunteer my services and patrol with them.

Often times property is confiscated in normal cases but even if the officers wanted to jail them, the jail would refuse them because of the "seriousness" of the crime. The jail sets a "standard" for what they feel how serious a crime has to be before they would take them to jail due to the number of criminals out there being arrested. So no, the run of the mill poacher is not usually arrested. That brings me to my point. Crying for 10 years in prison for shooting one deer when others are getting 5 years for raping just isn't practical. I would say raping someone is much more serious than poaching a deer. Often times we stop a person for speeding and find he has warrants but if the dollar amount isn't high enough we have to simply let them go with a citation. Talk to a family member of someone who was killed by someone speeding and they'll tell you speeding should be a jailable offense but you and I know thats not practical.

Often times there are circumstances involved that you don't read about. Like when the suspect was first contacted did he admit to it immediately or did he deny it and make the officers do a lenghty investigation? Has he done this before? How many animals did he kill before getting caught? A person suspected in other incidents that can't be proven will be treated more harshly than a true first time offender. Was this an opportunity crime or did he plan it and malicious set out with the intention of killing a trophy animal? In this case we simply don't know the details.

This guy was a cop and deserves to be punished. The fact that he was on duty does make it more severe and he shouldn't work in law enforcement anymore. However he got caught and is paying for it. Poaching pisses me off too but a one time poaching incident hardly constitutes the blood hungry cries some of you have. If he was getting away with it I would understand but he didn't and he did lose his job over it. Move on!!!!

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

Mismary – What would you consider fair in terms of fines, jail-time, and loss of hunting privileges in Heath Gustafson’s case 2/12/2004?

[ This Message was edited by: Quicksilver on 2004-01-27 13:40 ]

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1585
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Wow from some of these comments I would think that Bitmasher, Quicksilver and Rather_Be_Huntin must have seen a man resisting arrest rather than a man laying on the ground getting the crud beat outta himself when watching the Rodney King Video !! Grin

From what I can gather from these comments posted here, Mr. Gustafson nor Poaching is what is drawing the ire of many but rather the precieved "special" treatment that was afforded Mr. Gustafson because he was a Sheriffs Deputy. One he pulled that trigger he was no longer a LEO, he was just your average run of the mill criminal and thats the way he should have been treated.

I would like to know where Mr. Rather_be_huntin is a LEO cause I want to move there and live. Around here(Fla) and Tennessee the Officers dont issue "warnings" unless you have one of those lil "star" stickers on your License Plate denoting you to be involved in law enforcement in some capacity. Just one more of those "perks" that the special few get that the rest of us dont.

[ This Message was edited by: JTapia on 2004-01-27 15:48 ]

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

Quote:

I would like to know where Mr. Rather_be_huntin is a LEO cause I want to move there and live. Around here(Fla) and Tennessee the Officers dont issue "warnings" unless you have one of those lil "star" stickers on your License Plate denoting you to be involved in law enforcement in some capacity. Just one more of those "perks" that the special few get that the rest of us dont.

[ This Message was edited by: JTapia on 2004-01-27 15:48 ]

I love it when people put words in your mouth. The funny thing is my comments are in print so its going to be hard for you do defend the above statment.

I never said give the guy a warning, in fact I said he should be out of law enforcement indefinitely. I just said crying for 10 years in prison is too extreme.

So Mr. Jtapia, open mouth and insert foot.

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

I would settle for what you and I would have gotten.
Or how about what theses folks got just to start, and add only a bar from ever
Holding an enforcement job again and a required firearms related charge.
But first.
Some here I think take my writing as yelling and screaming. Please do not, I only ask that the playing field be the same for all of us.

The Cat's in the Bag
Conservation officers Jerry Lockhart, McCall, and Don Stucker, Council, were notified of an illegal mountain lion kill on Trail Creek in Adams County.

When they arrived at the scene, they were able to establish the time of the kill by interviewing hunters who had witnessed the event. The officers also found two orphaned lion kittens. Female lions with kittens cannot be taken.

When the officers caught up with the two poachers, they found the lion carcass with a tag that had been issued one hour after the kill.

The two men were given a total of $1,850 in fines and costs, a total of 90 days in jail, and lost their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years.

============================================
or how about just treating him as you or i would be treated her is what the law in Idaho states.

36-1404. UNLAWFUL KILLING, POSSESSION OR WASTE OF WILD ANIMALS, BIRDS AND
FISH -- REIMBURSABLE DAMAGES -- SCHEDULE -- ASSESSMENT BY MAGISTRATES --
INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS -- DEFAULT JUDGMENTS -- DISPOSITION OF MONEYS. (a) In
addition to the penalties provided for violating any of the provisions of
title 36, Idaho Code, any person who pleads guilty, is found guilty of or is
convicted of the illegal killing or the illegal possession or illegal waste of
game animals or birds or fish shall reimburse the state for each animal so
killed or possessed or wasted as follows:
1.Elk, seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) per animal killed, possessed
or wasted.
2. Caribou, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose, one thousand five
hundred dollars ($1,500) per animal killed, possessed or wasted.
3. Any other species of big game, four hundred dollars ($400) per animal
killed, possessed or wasted.
4. Wild turkey and swan, two hundred fifty dollars ($250) per bird
killed, possessed or wasted.
5. Sturgeon, chinook salmon, and wild steelhead, two hundred fifty dol-
lars ($250) per fish killed, possessed or wasted.
6. Bull trout, one hundred fifty dollars ($150) per fish killed, pos-
sessed or wasted.
7. Any other game bird, game fish or furbearer, fifty dollars ($50.00)
per animal killed, possessed or wasted.
Provided further, that any person who pleads guilty, is found guilty of,
or is convicted of a flagrant violation, in accordance with section
36-1402(e), Idaho Code, involving the illegal killing, illegal possession or
illegal waste of a trophy big game animal as defined in section 36-202(h),
Idaho Code, shall reimburse the state for each animal so killed, possessed or
1. Trophy mule deer: two thousand dollars ($2,000) per animal killed,
possessed or wasted;
2. Trophy white-tailed deer: two thousand dollars ($2,000) per animal
killed, possessed or wasted;
3. Trophy elk: five thousand dollars ($5,000) per animal killed, pos-
sessed or wasted;
4. Trophy bighorn sheep: ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per animal

2

killed, possessed or wasted;
5. Trophy moose: ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per animal killed, pos-
sessed or wasted;
6. Trophy mountain goat: ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per animal
killed, possessed or wasted;
7. Trophy pronghorn antelope: two thousand dollars ($2,000) per animal
killed, possessed or wasted;
8. Trophy caribou: ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per animal killed, pos-
sessed or wasted.
For each additional animal of the same category killed, possessed or
wasted during any twelve (12) month period, the amount to be reimbursed shall
double from the amount for each animal previously illegally killed, possessed
or wasted. For example, the reimbursable damages for three (3) elk illegally
killed during a twelve (12) month period would be three thousand five hundred
dollars ($3,500) five thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($5,250), calculated
as follows: five seven hundred fifty dollars ($7500) for the first elk; one
thousand five hundred dollars ($1,0500) for the second elk; and two three
thousand dollars ($23,000) for the third elk. In the case of three (3) trophy
elk illegally killed in a twelve (12) month period, the reimbursable damages
would be thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000) calculated as follows: five
thousand dollars ($5,000) for the first elk, ten thousand dollars ($10,000)
for the second elk, and twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for the third elk.
Provided however, that wildlife possessing a twenty-five fifty dollar
($250.00) reimbursement value shall be figured at the same rate per each ani-
mal in violation, without compounding.
(b) In every case of a plea of guilty, a finding of guilt or a conviction
of unlawfully releasing any fish species into any public body of water in the
state, the court before whom the plea of guilty, finding of guilt, or convic-
tion is obtained shall enter judgment ordering the defendant to reimburse the
state for the cost of the expenses, not to exceed ten thousand dollars
($10,000), incurred by the state to correct the damage caused by the unlawful
release. For purposes of this subsection, "unlawfully releasing any fish spe-
cies" shall mean a release of any species of live fish, or live eggs thereof,
in the state without the permission of the director of the department of fish
and game; provided, that no permission is required when fish are being freed
from a hook and released at the same time and place where caught or when
crayfish are being released from a trap at the same time and place where
caught.
(c) In every case of a plea of guilty, a finding of guilt or a convic-
tion, the court before whom such plea of guilty, finding of guilt or convic-
tion is obtained shall enter judgment ordering the defendant to reimburse the
state in a sum or sums as hereinbefore set forth including postjudgment
interest. If two (2) or more defendants are convicted of the illegal taking,
killing or the illegal possession or wasting of the game animal, bird or fish,
such judgment shall be declared against them jointly and severally.
(d) The judgment shall fix the manner and time of payment, and may permit
the defendant to pay the judgment in installments at such times and in such
amounts as, in the opinion of the court, the defendant is able to pay. In no
event shall any defendant be allowed more than two (2) years from the date
judgment is entered to pay the judgment.
(e) A defaulted judgment or any installment payment thereof may be col-
lected by any means authorized for the enforcement of a judgment under the
provisions of the Idaho Code.
(f) All courts ordering such judgments of reimbursement shall order such
payments to be made to the department which shall deposit them with the state

3

treasurer, and the treasurer shall place them in the state fish and game
account.
(g) The court shall retain jurisdiction over the case. If at any time the
defendant is in arrears ninety (90) days or more, the court may revoke the
defendant's hunting, fishing or trapping privileges until the defendant com-
pletes payment of the judgment.

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Moderator
Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1585
Idaho Sheriff's Deputy poaches whitetail buck while ON DUTY.

Mr Rather_Be_Huntin, I was paying you a lighthearted compliment but I see that you are just another smart mouthed cop.

I will certainly not open mouth and insert foot and you are correct that your comments are in print, that works both ways. I certainly dont feel I put words in your mouth.
Sorry I dont know how to do the quote thing but here you are. OK I read up on this quote thing so here goes!!

Rather_Be_Huntin Quote, Quote:

"Often times we stop a person for speeding and find he has warrants but if the dollar amount isn't high enough we have to simply let them go with a citation."

Now as I interpet this "Quote" you will let them go with just a citation for the warrants if the dollar amounts for said warrants is too low. Perhaps you meant that you just ignored the warrant and cited them for the speeding.
What I was lightheartedly saying was around here you will get everything you got coming to you, no ands, ifs, or buts about it.
It should be noted that my Step-father is a sheriffs deputy in another county nearby so I speak of the "Perk Star" sticker with knowledge. He also says that he has the discretion on rather to issue a citation or just a warning but the warning is never issued because of liability if there was to be an accident just down the road.
Sorry I ruffled your feathers, that was not my intent.

[ This Message was edited by: JTapia on 2004-01-27 16:41 ]

[ This Message was edited by: JTapia on 2004-01-27 17:37 ]

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

Quote:


On 2004-01-27 13:30, Quicksilver wrote:
Mismary – What would you consider fair in terms of fines, jail-time, and loss of hunting privileges in Heath Gustafson’s case 2/12/2004?

[ This Message was edited by: Quicksilver on 2004-01-27 13:40 ]

Just my personal opinion, but I feel it would appropriate to fine Heath the $2,000 for poaching a Trophy Buck.

Sentence him to serve 30 days in the Bonner County Jail.

Suspend his hunting privileges for at least 10 years.

Court Order a minimum 200 hours of Community Service, spent educating youngsters in the local Hunters' Safety Course.

There you have it, Qucksilver.
IMO, that's reasonable for the Crime and the circumstances surrounding it.

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

On a lighter note, JTapia, you’re an idiot…

I don’t speak for Bitmasher or RBH’n but Rodney King was a great analogy to make your point as clear as mud.

Rodney King, correct me if I’m wrong, was an individual that resisted arrest which lead to his brutal beating. JTapia, your point being?

Poaching, what Mr. Gustafson poached, and being an armed officer of the law has been the basic issues covered. JTapia, take some time and read back through some of the posts. I think you’ll see that the majority of the members here have a fairly decent grasp on Mr. G’s case and the topics at hand.

Granted, things tend to get a little heated, when we all find out that Mr. G is a Deputy sheriff, using an assault rife, in his patrol unit, while possibly being on the clock…

A Misdemeanor is a crime which is generally punishable by fine or incarceration in the county jail for less than one year, where as, Felonies are typically the most serious crimes in any system of criminal law, and maybe punishable by more than one year in prison or by death.

Prison time and death, reduction to, County Jail and fines can on any level be viewed as “special treatment”…

I haven’t seen any information surrounding Heath’s credentials as an officer, but making an assumption, that this is his first offense, I’m not surprised that “special treatment” was handed down in these circumstances. Than man shot one trophy buck and caught red handed!!

Maybe, as mismary has stated before, a distinction between the greater of the two (poaching or law enforcement corruption) cannot be made. But Mr. G, minus the sheriff badge, is an average individual, with an IQ of a 4 year old. Captchee, I don’t feel that a man who wears a badge should be held to higher standards than an individual who flips burgers at McDonald’s. Both can commit a poaching crime, but why should a man wearing a badge being an officer of the law receive 10 years in prison, max fine, and lose everything, while mister juvenile burger flipper dude receives 30 days in a county jail? Just doesn’t make any sense!

Heath as stated before has lost his career, taken a hammering on this board, embarrassed the BC sheriffs, let down his community, apologized publicly, and hasn’t even been sentenced yet! 2/12 is just around the corner. I’m sure once Mr. G is sentenced, someone will think he should have received more, and others will believe less…

So, once that Judge slams his gavel, this case is closed, and all will be forgotten about Mr. G’s illegally taken buck. In the end poachers will go on poaching and Officers will go on corrupting…
_________________
Never take life to seriously... You'll never get out alive!!

[ This Message was edited by: Quicksilver on 2004-01-28 13:28 ]

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

Quote:

Often times property is confiscated in normal cases but even if the officers wanted to jail them, the jail would refuse them ...due to the number of criminals out there being arrested. So no, the run of the mill poacher is not usually arrested... Often times we stop a person for speeding and find he has warrants but if the dollar amount isn't high enough we have to simply let them go with a citation.

Above is what I said JTapia. Once again you are guilty of not reading my post correctly. I said if the dollar amount is not high enough we HAVE TO let them go with a citation because the jails are full and will refuse them. This is a sad thing and I hate letting people go but its just the way it is.

I think your Rodney King analogy did get you off on the wrong foot. It was pointless with lots of underlying insinuations.

"Just another smartmouthed cop" as you say? Nah, I just hate being stereotyped. Hope you washed your feet this morning!

And I mean that lightheartedly of course.

MisMary, I think what you expect from his sentencing isn't unfair. I don't know Idaho very well but I'll bet he'll never see the inside of a jail cell though. I would think the sentence too light if all other of your expectations weren't met.

[ This Message was edited by: rather_be_huntin on 2004-01-28 13:29 ]

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