Poaching Scheme Busted Up; Dates Back 16 Years

state outdoors news

Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents in the field —  from the serious, like poaching cases, to the ridiculous.

Here's a roundup of recently reported poaching cases.

IOWA

Poaching case dates back 16 years

Investigators with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have uncovered an illegal scheme to bag white-tailed deer that involved out-of-state poachers and spanned 16 years.

The Iowa DNR said nearly two dozen deer were poached in the scheme.

The investigation first centered on the illegal use of state-issued Iowa landowner tenant deer tags, which first began in 2017, and led to a larger investigation of poaching in Cedar County dating back to 2002.

"Thanks to one single tip from the public which led us to the initial investigation and eventually turned into something much greater, we were able to put a stop to years and years of illegal activity," DNR conservation officer Eric Wright said in a news release. "Deer hunting is a very popular sport and hobby across our state and we want to ensure that all hunters are doing so fairly and abiding by the law."

More from Iowa DNR:

The investigation found that a Michigan family group that spanned three generations — a grandfather, his two sons and two grandchildren —  were poaching trophy-sized white-tailed deer on a privately-owned Iowa farm without the required hunting permits or tags. Douglas Leo Hebert, age 49, of Indian River, Michigan, along with his 51-year-old brother, Jeffrey Leo Hebert of Bay City, Michigan, and their 73-year-old father, Leo Frederick Hebert of Bay City, Michigan, contrived the illegal arrangement over the course of 16 seasons, where the Iowa landowners supplied them with lodging and tags for any deer that were harvested by the group in exchange for fishing opportunities in Michigan.

None of Michigan men were legally licensed to hunt in Iowa.

Investigators found that 19 whitetails were taken illegally, 17 of which were bucks. The family members agreed to pay $51,000 in fines and had their Iowa hunting privileges suspended for at least three years. The suspensions may also be enforced by other states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

The Iowa residents involved in the case fully cooperated with investigators and agreed to pay fines totaling $780.

None of the juveniles implicated in the case were charged, per the plea agreement.

Read more about this story from Iowa DNR

MONTANA

FWP investigates poaching near Shepherd

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens are investigating the recent poaching of an elk north of Shepherd. The animal's head was removed and the carcass was left to waste, the agency said.

The elk had been shot and left on private property.

A $1,000 reward has been offered for info leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible. If you have info related to this case, call the poaching tipline at 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668).

Read more from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

TEXAS

Ignorance Is Not an Acceptable Excuse

Texas game wardens were patrolling Choke Canyon Reservoir last month when they were alerted of possible illegal alligator hunting on the lake.

The wardens found two men sleeping in their truck in the area in question and after questioning they admitted to having eight baited lines set out to catch gators.

The suspects said they weren't aware they were doing anything wrong and were unclear about state regulations.

The men were cited for several offenses, including catching undersized catfish and having no fishing or hunting licenses. No alligators were caught.

Read more Texas Game Warden Field Notes

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