One new Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer recently showed he was ready to make life tough for poachers before he is even given his own patrol area.
Rookie conservation officer (CO) Tyler Peterson had just completed his Idaho Peace Officer and Standards Training in Boise and was starting his field training program in Idaho Falls when a call came in over the Citizens Against Poaching hotline that helped kick his career in wildlife law enforcement into high gear. That one tip helped expose a group of poachers in the Upper Snake Valley that had taken at least one adult bull moose, a bull moose calf, and a mule deer doe.
Following up on leads, Peterson and senior conservation officer Lew Huddleston made the rounds of the upper valley. By the time they were done, they had uncovered multiple individuals that were responsible for a multitude of not only wildlife, but also probation and parole violations. According to Officer Huddleston, "Without the help of the Madison County Probation and Parole this case wouldn't have come together."
The individuals involved with the poached animals had lied to the game wardens about having anything illegal in their home. While game wardens need solid probable cause to obtain a warrant to search a residence, individuals on probation and parole have lost their rights to such protection under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. When Madison County Probation and Parole Officers showed up on the scene, a search of the home netted a hoard of evidence betraying that illegal activities had occurred.
According to Peterson, "We not only seized cut and wrapped moose meat, but also three firearms and ammunition that may have been used to commit the wildlife violations." In all, officers seized 111 packages of cut and wrapped moose meat weighing about 250 pounds. They also seized a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun, a lever-action .30-30 rifle and a 6mm Remington rifle. They had also seized a mule deer doe in St. Anthony earlier in the day as part of the investigation.
Huddleston said that because of the, "Numerous animals and individuals involved, we are still working with the Madison County Prosecutor regarding what exact charges will be filed. The individual in St. Anthony was already cited for the doe. Because the tips that led to this case being broken were received over the CAP hotline, the person that called them in will be eligible for a substantial reward."
Once Peterson completes his field training in the Upper Snake Region he will move on to train with different wardens in other parts of the state. Upon completion he will return to the Upper Snake Region where he will serve until he successfully completes his training. He will then be eligible for promotion to senior conservation officer and assignment to a permanent patrol area.