Preston Taxidermist Sentenced
A Preston taxidermist was sentenced in late March to fines, loss of hunting and fishing privileges, and probation for violations of the state Outfitters and Guides code and Fish and Game code.
Over the past several years, Fish and Game officials have received citizens' complaints regarding the man's illegal hunting and fishing activities. As a result of these complaints, he was contacted by agents of the Idaho Fish and Game Department and the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Board to advise him of the legal requirements of outfitting and guiding, and warn him of the consequences of not complying. In the spring of 2001, additional citizens' complaints were received.
As a result of these complaints, a joint investigation was conducted by Fish and Game and the Outfitters and Guides Board. Agents from both departments were illegally guided on several hunts, and numerous violations of fish and game laws were also documented. Agents documented 14 violations in four counties. On October 24, 2001, the Idaho Fish and Game Department, with assistance from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, served a search warrant on the man's residence and taxidermist shop. Evidence discovered helped to substantiate the charges.
In a binding plea agreement in front of Magistrate Judge Lynn Brower, the man pleaded guilty to outfitting and guiding without a license; failure to keep required taxidermist records; possession of unlawfully taken game birds; wasteful destruction of waterfowl; molesting and/or driving and/or rallying game birds with the aid of a motor vehicle. Total fines, penalties, and court costs came to just under $6,000. In addition, the man's rifle and a shotgun were forfeited. He also lost his hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for a fixed period of six years, with an additional four years at the discretion of the court. His taxidermist license was also revoked for a fixed period of five years, with an additional five years at the discretion of the court.
Both the courts and the citizens of the state are becoming less tolerant of violations of fish and game law, and the Citizens Against Poaching hotline (800-632-5999) is becoming an important tool in the fight against poachers.
Seventeen states now belong to a wildlife violators compact. If privileges are revoked in one state, they are revoked in all of them. The courts, also, are less tolerant and, with the advent of "flagrant violation" laws in recent years, able to impose heavier sentences where warranted. In the last few months, several significant fines and penalties have been handed down by the courts in Eastern Idaho for violations of fish and game laws. In Butte County, a man was sentenced from two to five years in the Idaho State Prison, had his hunting license revoked for 18 years and had to pay over $25,000 in fines and civil penalties. In Caribou County an individual had his hunting privileges revoked for 99 years, and in Bear Lake County two men are now serving 180 days in the county jail and each assessed over $5,200 in fines and penalties each.
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