Bear Poaching Results in Felony Convictions

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On Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006, two Blanding juveniles were convicted of three counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife after shooting three bears without a permit. Seventh District Juvenile Court Judge Mary Manly found the teens guilty of three felony counts apiece; and sentenced each one to 30 days detention, 600 hours of community service, $1500.00 restitution, and $450.00 in fines.

Convictions stem from an incident on November 12, 2005, when the boys participated in a bear pursuit exercise for dogs. After the pursuit ended and the dogs and handlers had vacated the area, the boys shot the treed sow and her two cubs and left them to waste. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources' Conservation Officer Chris Rhea received a report about the dead bears and after a follow-up investigation, identified the shooters and obtained their confessions of guilt.

Black bear poaching is serious crime with serious consequences. The combined penalties in this case amount to 60 days detention, 1,200 hours of community service, $3,000 in restitution and $900 in fines. If that isn't enough, both boys become "restricted persons" and cannot possess firearms for hunting or sport. Even if their criminal records are expunged sometime in the future, they still face years of hunting privilege revocation.

If you witness a wildlife violation, please call your public safety dispatcher or the "Help Stop Poaching Hotline" at: 1-800-662-DEER. Wildlife is a heritage, enjoyed by and belonging to us all. Let's not allow ourselves to be victimized by the lawless actions of a very small minority.