Yellowstone Wildlife Advocate Guilty of Elk Poaching

Yellowstone Wildlife Advocate Guilty of Elk Poaching
Hoyt killed three cow elk in Caribou County, Idaho, but only had the permit for one. Photo via Henry Mulligan.

Idaho wildlife officials shocked area residents with the announcement that wildlife advocate Marv Hoyt pled guilty to poaching two elk in early November, 2013. Hoyt has since departed from his position as president of the Idaho chapter of the Greater Yellowstone Commission (GYC) — an organization with a mission statement that reads: "People protecting the lands, waters and wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem now and for future generations."

Hoyt had been an outspoken critic of area mining operations — specifically, selenium pollution that results in the deaths of sheep and cattle that wander into and graze amid the pollution.

In the wake of the scandal, GYC executive director Caroline Byrd told the Idaho State Journal: "GYC deeply regrets this incident and in no way either condones or excuses Marv Hoyt's judgment. As advocates for all lands, waters and wildlife in greater Yellowstone, our credibility depends upon consistently holding ourselves to the highest legal and ethical standards. This incident does not in any way reflect our values."

Multiple sources quoted the Idaho Department of Fish and Game investigative report, which evidenced that Hoyt killed three cow elk. The elk were killed in Caribou County, in the Nate Canyon area near Crow Creek. Hoyt was permitted to and licensed to kill only one elk in the November hunt.

Furthermore, two of the three elk were left in the field. Again according to the report, one elk had been harvested —  the meat was removed, but the ivory teeth were left in place, which was abnormal. Within 100 yards of that elk, officials discovered two additional elk that had been dropped but not harvested. Officials reported that the elk appeared to have been shot first in the hindquarters, then killed with shots to the heads. A local landowner saw Hoyt hunting the property and tipped off officials.

When confronted, Hoyt was reportedly "dishonest" for approximately the first 30 minutes of questioning and denied killing any additional elk that day beyond the one he harvested.  Hoyt later admitted to the elk poaching, as well as an additional illegal-take incident from 2001.

Hoyt was then charged with two misdemeanors —  wasteful destruction of wildlife and unlawful taking of game — and pled guilty to both.  He was sentenced to 30 days in jail (suspended), $2,100 in fines, $2,750 in restitution and loss of hunting privileges for an undisclosed number of years. He also must serve a 4-year supervised probation and perform 32 hours of community service.

Head over to Petersen's HUNTING to read more about the dumbest poachers and for more crazy news headlines, check out Mudroom Report!

Do you think Marv Hoyt's sentence was fair? Share your opinion with us in the comments!

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