24 misdemeanor counts put one Blackfoot, ID man in jail; others fined-

The men “involved in hunting in closed areas, transferring tags, purchasing resident licenses while residing outside of Idaho, hunting without the proper tag, killing elk in excess of the bag limits, and hunting with the use of motorized vehicles.”

Idaho Fish and Game news release.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

18 Responses to Six poachers in Idaho sentenced

  1. Cris Waller says:

    Wow- if these bozos get off with a fine of a few hundred dollars and loss of hunting privileges for a couple of years for slaughtering five *elk* (and probably many more that weren’t seized,) I really, really doubt that the Eagle wolf pup poacher will suffer any consequences for his act.

    Why don’t such people have their hunting privileges removed for life and suffer some REAL fines and jail time? Heck, some abalone poachers here in CA got up to 3 years in San Quentin and $50,000 fines! A deer poacher got $10,000 and 90 days.

    Sounds like for all of its sound and fury about killing wolves to “save” elk, ID doesn’t really care much about the elk after all.

  2. Mike says:

    Why aren’t poachers like this given lifetime bans?

  3. josh sutherland says:

    I saw this on a hunting forum, everyone was pretty wound up, its ridiculous the fines and jail time. Slap on the wrist..

  4. Ken Cole says:

    Unfortunately, most of these fines are determined by the judge who hears the case. Some of the more rural judges are pretty lenient on these types of cases. There are exceptions though, Valley County has a judge who takes these cases very seriously.

  5. ProWolf in WY says:

    So is it different if poachers slaughter elk but not wolves?

  6. Ryan says:

    The problem is with poachers is that the Jails are full and taking out a theif or drug dealer is unpalatable to most of the unedcuated masses to replace it with a poacher. Some states like AK and UT do throw the book at them though.

  7. Cris Waller says:

    Even if they don’t jail them., a poaching conviction should mean a hefty fine and automatic lifetime loss of all hunting privileges. In lieu of cail, put them to work on a conservation crew for a good long time. Maybe send them along with the other prisoners to fight a few wildfires.

  8. Cris Waller says:

    That was “in lieu of “jail”!

  9. JB says:

    A recent Idaho report estimated the negative impacts of wolves on Idaho’s big game hunting industry, claiming that “[t]he estimated economic value of a harvested elk in Idaho
    is $8,000 (including economic multipliers).” The report went on to claim that wolves cost IDF&G $15 million in lost hunting opportunities.

    Yet, these poachers kill five elk and only one pays more than $1,000 in fines; three of the six were fined less than $500 and only lost their hunting privileges for a year! That won’t even cover the court costs! And you wonder why people are pissed that you are killing wolves to protect elk? What a frigging joke.

  10. SR25Stoner says:

    This nonsense has enraged ethical hunters for decades. Letting them skip out basically on this crime. Bastards stole public property, they cheated, and they stole the lives of those elk in and unfair scenario.

  11. Cris Waller says:

    What is fascinating about this is that any reasonable person would agree these scumbags got off way too easy- Democrat or Republican, pro-hunting or anti-hunting, backcountry dweller or urbanite. I think people have even less sympathy for poachers like this than for drug dealers. So I wonder why judges don’t see it that way? You’d think it would be pretty easy to throw the book at them, and you wouldn’t lose public support over it- you’d please everyone. So what is the motivation to let these people off with less of a fine than I would pay for a speeding ticket? I just don’t get it.

  12. SR25Stoner says:

    I’m sure the weak link is in the State Code itself, It has minimums and maximums and the Judges are tied to that Code. They can not make up punishment as they go, that’s why its called a code book. This should have been changed long ago. It’s a legislative thing. If these had been beef cows or horses, even sheep, FELONY BUST no doubt. These guys photos should be posted all over the place to, so then folks see em about they’ll recognize em and keep and EYE on em.

  13. timz says:

    “There are exceptions though, Valley County has a judge who takes these cases very seriously.”

    I believe Valley county is where the wolf pup was shot illegally.
    Let’s hope that judge draws the case.

  14. dewey says:

    Let me tell you about Wyoming and wildlife enforcement . Maybe Idaho can take a hint. Wyoming used to be where I percieve Idaho is now judging from this article. Convicted poachers are given light sentences, ” slaps on the wrist” by judges, after all that has gone before in catching them and making a case for usurping the public’s precious wildlife resources. That is distasteful justice, if you can call it that. It took Wyoming decades to adopt some serious enforcement and sentencing priorities. Laws passed in the last decade now place a very high restitution value on animals poached..$ 25,000 for a Grizzly ; $ 15,00 or more for a trophy Bighorn Sheep ; $ 12,500 (give or take) for trophy Bull Elk ; $ 10,000 for trophy Deer , and so forth . For restitution purposes, even a common Cottontail Rabbit is now valued at $ 200.00 ! The new laws also made suspension of hunting and fishing privileges mandatory, and wise included reciprocal agreements with other states to transfer that penalty…lose your privlieges in Wyoming and you can’t hunt in Alaska, etc. , either, if understand it correctly.

    But here’s the provision that really gets the poachers attention ( or should). Wyoming Game Wardens can now confiscate all manner of stuff used in commission of the act…including vehicles, rifles, binoculars, etc. In other words, the perps have to surrender their precious toys, which the State then sells at auction and puts the proceeds back into game conservation funding. Almost the first use of this new law saw a Cody man lose his personal helicopter that he used to scout for elk, herd them , and drop off his 14-year old son on the ridgeline. That copter was worth $ 65,000. He was also fined $ 6500. Judges in Wyoming are finally handing out sentences and fines that are proportional to the crime. Tha is a most welcome change from what I saw growing up, where poachers were given kid gloves treatment and thumbed their noses at game wardens because hunters were ” special” and somewhat aside the law, if not above it.

    I strongly suggest that Idaho adopt similar wildlife restitution fees, high fines, and loss of all equipment and materiale used in commission of the poaching ( temporarily for the duration of the prosecution , permanently a the judge’s discretion). Perhaps confiscation will get the potential poacher’s attention.

    These kinds of draconian measures are almost made necessary by the regrettable fact that only a small percentage of poaching incidents are ever prosecuted. You almost have to catch the perps in the very act. Then it serves no constructive purpose to have a lenient judge.

  15. Craig says:

    Dewey, Idaho was a member of the States Violator Compact since 1991 Wyoming started in 1996. Also Idaho will confiscate Guns,Vehicles ect that were involved in the crime.
    Poaching a trophy species in Idaho, is a felony punishable by up to $10,000 in reimbursable damages, plus fines and court costs, minimum 1-year hunting license revocation and up to a possible lifetime license revocation.

  16. Craig says:

    Here’s a link to Idaho Statutes, chapter 13 and 14 deal with penaties.


  17. Gulo says:

    I can’t speak for Idaho but in Washington it has been a long-standing problem to get the legislature to lay out serious penalties for poaching, for prosecutors to carry cases forward and for judges to impose serious sentences. All of these elected officials are worried about repercussions from voters if they slap offenders for what are often locally considered as, at worst, victimless crimes or, at best, “some poor working guy trying to feed his family.” Until those attitudes change little will be done to impose meaningful sanctions on poachers. I can also tell you from personal experience in dealing with many poaching cases that the charges you do see filed are typically the tip of the proverbial iceberg, both in the case of the individuals charged and in the case of what goes on in the local area. Most of these guys are serial poachers who go on for years before the understaffed and overworked LE agents manage to get them into court.

    Confiscating guns, vehicles, etc., can apply a little more hurt but I have known poachers who specificaly used old “disposable” weapons and vehicles so they wouldn’t lose much if they were seized and it is not uncommon to hit cases where seizing the vehicle requires the agency to pay off the outstanding balance of the guy’s loan before it can be sold – usually not worth the cost.

    Until society gets serious aboutpoaching, the legal system won’t. So wildlife LE becomes a catch and release program. Been there, done that, changed jobs.

  18. Melissa says:

    I would like to know who these poachers lawyers were. My husband and i have a freind who is a husband and father of 5 boys who hunted during hunting season. He took more than he had tags for, but was helping friends of ours who were unable at the time to get out of the house. And when the deer were hanging at the time he got in trouble, with no tags attached to them , he got 60 days in jail, litter pick up for a year loss of hunting for the rest of his life, no drinking, no guns in the house and a curfew to be home at 10. So boys or girls heres your example of what you think should happen. And theres alot more than what i explained that he also has to do. I personally think he got screwed a little to much but thats my opinion.


September 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey