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Big Fines, Lifetime Ban; 'Majestic' Elk Poached

A roundup of recent poaching cases across the country.

Big Fines, Lifetime Ban; 'Majestic' Elk Poached

Conservation officers are seeking tips about a poached elk in Otsego County, Michigan. Anyone with information is asked to call or text the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Tipsters may remain anonymous. (Photo courtesy Michigan DNR)

Wildlife officers — or game wardens — face a myriad of incidents when in the field. Unfortunately, that includes poaching cases. Compiled from staff and agency reports.

15-year ban in Wisconsin poaching case

Two Wisconsin men were ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines and are banned from hunting, fishing and trapping nationwide for more than a decade in a poachingcase involving the illegal shining and shooting of 20 deer.

The fines were more than $20,000 combined for the two men, who were among five men charges, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported. Prosecutors said Jacob Menne of Readstown and Monte Mabb of Ferryville coordinated the illegal activity and are responsible for the killing of 20 deer, including nine bucks.

"This is a case of two people who are not hunters by any stretch of the imagination, and determined to steal wildlife from the public - wildlife observers and those who are ethical and law-abiding hunters," Conservation Warden Shawna Stringham said in a statement

The Vernon County Circuit Court sentenced Menne to $12,250 in fines and a 15-year ban from hunting, fishing and trapping, and Mabb to $9,872 in fines and a 12-year ban. (Note: Under the terms of the Interstate Wildlife Compact, any person whose license privileges are suspended in a member state — of which Wisconsin is — are suspended in all other member states. There are 48 members states with the remaining two in the process of joining. Read more about the compact on the DNR Website.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the violators used a spotlight and crossbow to target deer from a vehicle, and that there might have been more deer killed.

Three other men faced lesser charges.

Read more from Wisconsin DNR

Arrest in Killings of 3 Trophy Elk

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game wardens charged a man with two felonies and 19 misdemeanors in connection with the poaching of three trophy elk in Musselshell County. Two elk were killed 10 miles east of Roundup on Aug. 17, the other along Dean Creek southwest of Roundup on Aug. 20. Earl Russell Benes faces felony charges of criminal endangerment for discharging a handgun in close proximity to another individual, and aggravated cruelty to an animal, for shooting one bull elk in the neck with a handgun, then leaving it to suffer for an extended time before it died. Among the misdemeanors was a charge of hunting while his hunting privileges were suspended. The state said Benes was previously convicted of running down antelope in April 2018.

Read more from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

'Majestic' elk poaching investigated 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are investigating the poaching of a bull elk in the Pigeon River State Forest, east of Vanderbilt in Otsego County. The elk’s antlers had six points on one side, seven on the other, the state said.

The animal’s carcass was found Monday near Ford Lake Road less than a mile south of the Grass Lake and Ford Lake Road intersection. Officers suspect that the elk was killed Saturday or Sunday.


”We are currently following up on leads,” said Lt. Jim Gorno in a news release. “We hope that the public can help us with this investigation, as they have always been helpful in the past. This is flat out poaching. A majestic elk was killed for no reason and left to rot.”

If you have info: call the DNR Customer Service Center in Gaylord at 989-732-3541 or call or text the 24-hour Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Information can be left anonymously; monetary rewards are available for information that leads to the arrest of violators.

Mule Deer Case in Wyoming

Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking information on a mule deer buck that was illegally killed near Superior, Wyoming. The animal was found during the weekend approximately two miles east of Superior, off of County Road 18. “The head and antlers were removed and all edible portions of the deer were left to waste,” Roosa said. Rock Springs Game Warden Andy Roosa thinks the deer may have been shot Nov. 14 or 15.

If you have info: Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847) or 1-307-777-4330 for out-of-state calls. Tips may be reported online at, directly to game warden Andy Roosa at 307-350-4204, or by calling the Green River Game and Fish Office at-1-307-875-3223. Poaching information may also be texted; text keyword WGFD a message to TIP411 (847-411). Individuals submitting information leading to a conviction can be eligible for a reward through the Wyoming Wildlife Protector's Association.

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