Undercover Probe Nets Long List of Charges
An eastern Idaho outfitter and his guide have been charged with an unusually long list of violations at the end of a Fish and Game undercover investigation.
The charges include illegal killing of a bear and violations of the laws governing outfitting and guiding in Idaho. The two men have been summoned into Magistrate Court in Bonneville County.
Bonneville County prosecutors allege a 51-year-old man from Idaho Falls, violated 13 laws from August 25, 2002 to September 3, 2002, according to court records. The man faces seven counts of unlawfully taking game, four counts of violating outfitting rules, and charges of criminal conspiracy and hunting outside his licensed area, according to court records.
The man owns an outfitting company and bought the license in 2001. He is licensed to guide big-game hunters and fishermen in units 66 and 66A, both of which are south of Swan Valley and Palisades Reservoir, according to Fish and Game officials.
Prosecutors claim a 31-year-old man, also of Idaho Falls, broke 11 laws from May 21, 2002 to September 2, 2002. This man, who is licensed to guide for the other man, is charged with three counts of unlawful taking of game, three counts of violating outfitting rules, violating Fish and Game rules, failing to provide a transport statement, illegally possessing wildlife, criminal conspiracy, using hounds without a hound hunter's permit and using another person's game tag, according to court records.
The most serious are the unlawfully taking game charges, which carry maximum penalties of six months in jail, fines and potential loss of the right to hunt and fish in Idaho.
If both men are found guilty, the Outfitter and Guides Licensing Board could levy fines as much as $5,000 or revoke their outfitting and guiding licenses.
John Hanson, a regional conservation officer in the Idaho Falls Fish and Game office, said two officers from Fish and Game's undercover unit interacted with the two men over six months, including one hunting trip and two fishing trips on the South Fork. The first man is not licensed to guide on the South Fork.
Bonneville County Prosecutor Dane Watkins Jr. said the cases are large for Bonneville County. Most wildlife-related criminal cases usually involve fewer than three charges, he said.
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