And now thanks to four Louisiana men, there’s drive thru poaching.
The biggest difference between poaching and your typical drive thru, however, is that these four men pulled off the lot with some $86,000 in fines and 76 counts of illegally killing five deer. According to the Hamburg Reporter, James Moore and friends drove all the way to Iowa to poach trophy bucks. They were apprehended because of an anonymous tip submitted to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, according to Deb Howe, a state conservation officer.
“These men came to Iowa specifically to road hunt trophy bucks during the rut,” said Howe. “They did not have any licenses or tags to hunt in Iowa during the time they were here.”
That wasn’t all, though. Three of the other men were also charged with similar crimes in Kansas, where they also did a little drive by poaching. Court proceedings are expected to begin in November, and the men also had to forfeit the hunting rifles they used in the alleged crimes.
Just think: With all the money and effort these four men spent in this $4-a-gallon-for-gas economyâ€”with all the nearly 100 G’s in fines and confiscated riflesâ€”they could have paid to go on a legal trophy hunt for a fraction of that cost. Not sure a whole lot of thinking went in to that decision.
Jim Edward Page, 43, and Curtis Wallace, 45, were caught by police and admitted to trespassing. The initial charges led to further investigation that revealed the involvement of two other men, Wendell Taylor, 43, and Gregory Crokarell, 41 and as many as 41 deer mounts and antlers. Many of the illegally confiscated mounts had been taken to a taxidermist for mounting. In a plea agreement, Wallace lost his hunting privileges for seven years, was fined $2,500, received one-year probation and ordered to surrender his mounts. He still faced possible federal charges, while his co-conspirators awaited trials as well. (Pictured above: Tennesse wildlife officers at Fort Campbell press conference.)
In addition to charges directly related to the killing of the animals, some of the nine were also charged with racketeering, computer crimes and identity theft because they apparently bought licenses in other peopleâ€™s names and then illegally registered the poached deer. Game officials were aware of allegations concerning some of those involved, and after investigating an initial case of an illegally purchased license, officials began to discover the breadth and depth of the poaching ring and the true identities of those involved. Offenders face as many as 20 years in jail and fines of up to $375,000 a piece. One of those charged, Miguel A. Kennedy, 26, of Springfield, Ore., received eight months in prison and three years probation for his role and is cooperating with officials in the case of the other participants. Others in the case, including alleged ringleader Shane Donoho, 37, are still awaiting trial. (Pictured above: Oregon wildlife officer with evidence from the case.)
Some of the whitetail and mule deer mounts and racks confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ranged in size from 120 inches all the way up to 200 inches. Clients allegedly paid between $2,500 and $5,500 to participate in the illegal hunts. Officials continue to investigate the case and charges may be pending for some of the clients.
For their part in leading the operation, Texas brothers Martin Butler and James Butler were sentenced in June to a combined 5.75 years in prison and fined $70,000. (Pictured above: Part of the collection seized as part of the case)
The alleged crimes committed included the unlawful killing of dozens of deer including three large racked bucks, spotlighting and illegally selling and buying game. Some deer were believed to have been killed in Pennsylvania during the stateâ€™s early muzzleloader and regular firearms deer seasons in 2010 and some were believed to have been illegally taken in Maine. While executing search warrants at the residents of the men in question, agents seized hundreds of pounds of meat, firearms, antlers, bows and arrows, spotlights, a mounted hawk and an owl, a computer and other hunting related equipment an Pennsylvania Game Commission press release announced.
Charged in the case are Everett T. â€śTylerâ€ť Leonard, 31, who faces 117 charges related to the case; Everett H. â€śLennyâ€ť Leonard, 59, who faces 52 charges; Carlton John Enos, 19, who faces 59 charges; Lucien H. Clavet, 44, who faces 22 charges; and a 17-year-old juvenile. (Pictured above: From left to right are: Carlton John Enos, 19, Everett H. (Lenny) Leonard, 59, and Everett Tyler Leonard, 31, all of Turner, Maine; and Lucien H. Clavet, 44, of Monmouth, Maine.)
It was discovered that clients were allowed to shoot beyond their bag limits or shoot against their guideâ€™s limits.
In all, tickets were mailed to the client offenders with fines totaling more than $120,000. Meanwhile, the guides all received various fines, probation and the loss of hunting and guiding privileges in the state. The lodgeâ€™s owners, Theodore and Orlan Mertz, agreed to a plea deal that included 18 months probation, fined them $80,000 and $10,000 restitution and banned them from guiding in the United States ever again.It was the largest single financial penalty levied in North Dakota for a wildlife-related crime. (Representative image)
Investigators found the perpetrators were interested in either meat or velvet racks.
Dean Ruth was found guilty of operating a poaching out of Missoula County and in the state of Pennsylvania for at least 10 years in which in Montana alone, more than 100 trophy-class mule deer, whitetails, elk, antelope, moose, mountain lions and black bears were poached by Ruth and eight associates. Among Ruthâ€™s associates, at least seven were ordered to pay more than $20,000 in state fines and restitution, while some also received jail sentences. Ruth and his wife Renita, who were accused of using spotlights and suppressors while committing some of the crimes, were ordered to pay $28,000 in fines and restitution to the state. Ruth also received a 20-year prison sentence with 15 of those years suspended. He lost his privileges to hunt, fish or trap in Montana for the rest of his life and as a convicted felon, will never be able to legally own a firearm again.