Felony dismissed on anti-wolf elk poacher case

Idaho Fish and Game bungles evidence, judge rules-
Founder of SaveElk.com, anti-wolf web site still faces 3 misdemeanors-

Felony dismissed in elk poaching case. State botches test to determine animal’s trophy status. By Terry Smith. Idaho Mountain Express



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  1. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    It would seem that there should be ways of determining the normal percentage shrinkage following freezing for trophy antlers and did this rack excede that range. I hope the prosecuters try for the felony charges again.

  2. mikarooni Avatar

    Idaho should be so proud.

    1. Salle Avatar

      Sad thing is, they are proud and the scary part is that they don’t come close to comprehending why they should be embarrassed if not ashamed…

  3. Ann Avatar

    when you go to Tony Mayers website SaveElk.com, they actually try to pass themselves off as non-hunters concerned with the suffering of elk…!

  4. Salle Avatar

    What do you suppose the chances that the bungled evidence happened “accidentally on purpose”? A convenient excuse…

    1. Jay Avatar

      Yeah, I’m sure the officer went to the trouble to cite the guy for multiple offenses and all the work that went into the investigation just to let it get dismissed on a technical error. You’ve been watching too many movies.

      1. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson

        Not so fast, Jay. It happens and it happens on purpose. Not saying the investigative officer did it but there are a lot of law enforcement egos out there as well as those in the law enforcement community who want a fellow officer look bad.

        Also, all it takes is a person in the chain of evidence “friendly” to the accused and or his cause.

        What Salle talks of happens ALL the time. I had a number of cases I HAD to follow all the way through because I knew my district ranger would try to sabatoge any citation dealing with an outfitter….especially the ones he chummed with.

        I even had a chief ranger rush to Thorofare two days earlier than planned in order for him to interfere in a case I already had written confessions for. He wanted to go to the poaching site and immediately tried to say there were extenuating circumstances that would have to be reviewed further. Then he tried to say the boundary markings were not precise and he would have to have the fire cache fly it to see if it was either in or out where the outfitter drug the carcass out (the 26 year old who shot it started bawling upon questioning by me and then wrote on tear wetted paper,”My dad and …. made me help them drag the elk out of the Park.”.

        The intent of my hallowed Chief was to take the case down and then reinvent it in his name. He was not alone. The Mammoth administrators were most all slim balls this way.

        The chief hadn’t ever caught a poacher and all he could ever talk about in Law enforcement refreshers was the time he rappled from a helicopter in Hawai to bust up some pot planters.

        In the end the two F&W agents he carried along on the trip with him came up to me …..while the chief was readjusting supposed out of line boundary signs….and said they saw it as a cut and dried case. Then I showed them the confession.

        Do you think they ever countered the chief directly? Hell no, but at least they thought they would give me a little back room support. Of course I could of told them I didn’t need their words…cause I didn’t give a hoots’ whether it was the chief ranger or the Supt.

        In the end I backed down the chief and within two more hours I had both the father (father cried too by the way), son and outfitter cited with my name on those citations.

        But to tell the end of the story I found out years later the name out of the Mammoth Law Enforcement Office attributed to this poaching case was the very honorable chief. Ta Da Ta Da.

        So Jay when Salle says what he did I go back to those movies you refer to and say to your self, “this same kind of sinister shit happens in real life also”. Ta Da

      2. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson

        The last paragraph should read, I’d” instead of “I”

      3. Jay Avatar

        Whatever Bob, if you say so (and you both have been watching too many movies).

      4. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson


        Yes, I do like the movies, whether it is the life reel going before me or the well developed character ones such as made by the Cohen Brothers. They are skirting and sniffing a bit with expose of western myths, but I think their best movie, I think, would be one on the govt.-outfitter-fake mt man- fake ranger-fake biologist-fake heel grinder guides-fake dist rangers-chief rangers-fake public relations, fake horsemen …I guess that about covers it. A great movie busting all those myths and at the same time a westerner with no heros. Right up the Brothers line of work.

        Oh, I kinda like the Tarantino flicks..like Natural Born Killers and Inglorious bastards. I had always wondered how he could pick out such great music to go with the scenes….but then I found out he made the scenes to fit the sounds he liked. Sometimes I like to look at life that way. Makes things a bit clearer. Sort of like how big game biologists and range scientists, as Chugar says to the gas station guy in NCFOM “… don’t know what they (you) are talking about”when they attempt management of those herd species.

      5. SAP Avatar

        Will you just take it at face value if I tell you that Natural Born Killers is an Oliver Stone movie, not Tarantino?

      6. SAP Avatar

        PS: my old Buffalo packers (back before they changed their name to Hathorn Hi-Line) end up with the heels worn on the outside edge after time. Just something about the way I walk. I get them re-soled every couple years.

      7. SAP Avatar

        Oops! Mea culpa, Stone directed NBKs, Tarantino gets writing credits! Crazy movie — could never look at Rodney Dangerfield the same after that.

      8. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson


        Guess you should have gone for the White’s, a step up from the Buffalo packers…of course then maybe you would have been knock kneed.

        And in bringing those old buffalo’s out of the attic one more time to think of the “old days” do you notice if you ever laced those boots so the “flapper” tongue was kept in the proper position….instead of hanging half way down to the toe with that tongue all curled up or hanging to the side.

        In other words did you ever put those two little loops of lace up through the eyelet holes of that tongue???

      9. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson


        And I agree. Rodney’s protrayal was right on for that movie. his character so much reminded me of a former Yell. supt. …one who looked about the same, was a politican-carrerist out of Wash, wore his ranger hat tilted half way back so his massive bare forehead made him look like a moon shot (only thing worse was he made all the other front country rangers wear it the same way…when I’d come to the back country it was such a sight. Rangers would have rain hitting their face…with no wind driving that rain).

        Yes Rodney did take on a new perspective for me also with NBK’s.

      10. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson

        Too early I guess. It should be “come out of the backcountry”.

      11. SAP Avatar

        I think I know the curled-up tongue protector problem you mention — no matter what I did with the laces the dang thing ended up way out on my toe like some big leather doily. The only good remedy was to trim them down to the same shape as the White’s.

        On this drizzly cold Montana morning, I am now dreaming of the White’s insulated packers (the leather ones with Thinsulate, not the rubber-bottomed kind). Any experience with them?

      12. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson


        As far as the tongue problem if you push up the string, through the bottom side, a small loop in each side of the false tongue eyelets…then with the length of the string…and before you go through any regular shoe brass eyelets….you insert through the eyelet the string from that side of the boot. Then tighten it down so the eyelet loop in the false tongue is right against the side of the boot. It makes for a “tight package”. There should be no other problems with a tongue creeping down over time.

        It use to be (early 70’s) if any firefighter was seen without this in place with his White smokejumper boots he was seen as a newbie who knew little. But by the 90’s few of the firefighters knew how to tie their shoe laces.

        And as for the back country rangers from the ones I first had contact with, most had “prperly” tied White Packers. By the 90’s I only saw one other horse with the “right stuff”.

        Additionally white packers were diluted big time in Yell. with the ’88 fires. This is when all the administrative types leaped on the band wagon to be “overseers” for helicopter landings and camp conditions…titles that meant little more than that. But it did mean there was NO subvision as to keeping track of their actual time or function. Thus some of them racked up $30,000 in short order. Lots of overtime where it was too late in the day for helicopter flights but they were still hanging around for GS 12 overtime combined with hazard pay.

        Yes it was sick and the worst part was they all put in for White Packers…not the firefighter Whites. Thus whenever one was in the Mammoth headquarters building one could hear all those shined cordovan packers going down those hallways for years. And those boots stayed shined except for the yearly horse training requirement. Then these folks would all be looking down at their boots, making sure horse shit didn’t get on them.

        And of course none had a clue as how to lace them. And as for those legit back country horse rangers? Those who didn’t have the $240 to shell out for something they really needed? Not one penny for this even though they ewere guys fighting and packing those fires!!!!

        And as for the Packer thinsulites? If it is for horse use, save your money. Again too many of the Mammoth types wore these in the admin building during the winter, sweating all kinds of foot oder at their desks. Same for the district and a lot of the sub district rangers who were suppose to be on snowmobiles but stayed in the offices all winter.
        But it was “cool” and carried the image properly for those Walter Mitties.

        The thinsulites are too thin for snowmobile use and also don’t give enough warmth for horse use. I bought a pair early in my time but quickly went back to 5 buckle (Lacrosse doesn’t make an eyelet overshoe that fits a packer boot) to keep my feet from freezing off.

        Ya if you are just playing around or pretending to be horsey with your buds, with you standing next to the dually at the corral and talk of dapples and roans it is for you …but otherwise forget it. Of course the overshoes I wore were looked on by other rangers as something out of kindergarden years but I didn’t care.

        With packers and overshoes one can keep feet tolerable in maybe ten below on a horse if you walk some also. That is if you don’t goop up those packers with snow seal or other waterproofing. Add another 20 degrees less tolerance if you think you have to “condition” in this manner.

      13. Salle Avatar


        Just because you like to watch TV and movies doesn’t mean that anyone who states a fact that you don’t perceive as real is watching them too. (In fact, I have been adamant about NOT having a TV in my home since 1980 and have little use for one, except to watch the lead up and the actual world series games or the Olympics ~ then I go someplace to watch that ~ but the rest I have little time for or interest in.)

        Mr. Jackson puts that in perspective quite nicely, thank you, Mr. Jackson. The point being, just because you haven’t seen or experienced these type of situations doesn’t mean that you have the ultimately correct assumption going on. As Mr. Jackson states, the sort of thing I have suggested actually does happen quite often, I have also seen this reality too many times to just wave the idea off, especially in a place like Idaho, lived there long enough to have had the benefit of seeing, first hand, how that all goes down ~ though I think Mr. Jackson’s examples are better than mine so I will defer to his but include that I probably have seen it happen all too often in my day-to-day life. I have learned, through past experiences during my extended residency in that state, not to trust any agency or political figure in Idaho or most anywhere else these days… and I have been paying attention since the Kennedy/Nixon debates that I saw on TV a long, long time ago. I don’t care if you have a strong skepticism about the idea, just remember, you haven’t seen/heard everything; maybe you have been a little too sheltered from the more unpleasant facts of life on earth…

      14. Jay Avatar

        OK Salle, if I’ve lived a sheltered life, than you’ve read too many spy novels. Just because Bob says it’s rampant, doesn’t necessarily make it so, does it? If enforcement folks are as questionable as he contends, then I guess the logical assumption is Mr. Jackson is equally guilty of being negligent or outright unethical. An error on the part of the officer doesn’t necessarily equate to some cynical plot to allow poachers off the hook, as you contend. Your assertions are completely baseless, and far-fetched as far as i’m concerned. Let me ask you, do you know any CO’s or wildlife enforcement officers other than the foremest internet expert Bob J? What’s your worldly experience outside of Bob’s OPINION to back up your conspiracy theory?

      15. Jay Avatar

        And one more thing–yes, I’m well aware that corruption exists, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday. But to insinuate the officer is corrupt because a mistake was made is simply asinine and warrantless. No doubt you’ve made mistakes in your career, so do we also assume you’re corrupt? I understand this is the internet and opinions are unregulated, but I would think you have a bit more sense to throw out silly accusations with nothing other than your personal biases to support them.

      16. SAP Avatar

        Thanks for the insights, Bob. I found that part of the problem for me is that I have narrow feet and skinny ankles, which made it hard to keep the tongue piece in place no matter what. I finally got them modified to fit my ankles when I took them in for the latest rebuild (double-thick sole leather with mini-vibram).

        I do tend to get cold feet and was thinking that the Thinsulate leather packers would be nice as I rode back to camp the other night with temperatures in the 30s down in the basins (warmer up high). I’m not into the “fashion show,” either. I’m always keen to learn from folks who really know their stuff (as opposed to the types you’re describing, who I find want to look the part and are more interested in letting you know that they are way more experienced than anyone else — if that was really they case, they wouldn’t feel the need to make such a big deal about it?).

        You’re probably right, though, that the insulated packers fill only a very narrow condition niche between regular packers and rubber-bottomed insulated boots. But, oh, I dream of how they would feel riding out on a frosty morning and riding back in the dark!

        I like Ray Holes’ saddle butter to condition my boots & chinks — the other stuff does make things seem clammy and stiff. Sure they’re waterproof then, like a vinyl slicker is waterproof.

      17. SAP Avatar

        apologies to all for turning this into the packer boot forum.

      18. Salle Avatar

        OK Salle, if I’ve lived a sheltered life, than you’ve read too many spy novels.

        Um, is this a comparison? Perhaps you meant to write “then” instead of “than”… Actually I have no time or interest in spy novels either, most of my reading materials are relative to policy, which I analyze for clarity and facts. there’s so much of it to read, I don’t waste much time on other reading as I have other priorities to tend to with the rest of my time.

        But I digress…

        Just because Bob says it’s rampant, doesn’t necessarily make it so, does it? If enforcement folks are as questionable as he contends, then I guess the logical assumption is Mr. Jackson is equally guilty of being negligent or outright unethical.

        Interesting take on the information presented by Mr. Jackson but the reality is that you just don’t like what he has to say rather than any proof that he is unethical. In fact, if you have read any of his postings on his experience with the YNP NPS gang, you’d realize ~ assuming you can comprehend what is written in those posts ~ You missed the main points of how he fought, tirelessly for years, against the corruption he faced on a regular basis. To call him unethical and a part of the corruption is to accuse the victim for crimes committed against them. Shame on you. Makes me wonder how you treat veterans of wars…

        An error on the part of the officer doesn’t necessarily equate to some cynical plot to allow poachers off the hook, as you contend. Your assertions are completely baseless, and far-fetched as far as i’m concerned. Let me ask you, do you know any CO’s or wildlife enforcement officers other than the foremest internet expert Bob J?

        Probably many more than you do, and the majority of those I’ve encountered ~ with the exception of a small number whom I respect and trust ~ I wouldn’t walk away from them with my back towards them given their track records on truth and oath of office commitments, they may find a reason to do physical harm to me after some of our conversations.

        What’s your worldly experience outside of Bob’s OPINION to back up your conspiracy theory?

        You know, I have never met Mr. Jackson but I do respect and trust what he claims, his accounts aren’t different from the info I studied in college about his situation, before he left the park. Maybe some day I’ll have the honor of meeting him.

        And, perhaps you are the one feeding a conspiracy theory… a term wielded by those who would have the fairy-tale version be accepted as truth so as to distract the process of accountability and be by-passed since calling out dishonesty is so messy and unpleasant.. but it often only protects the guilty ~ then the wrong things become the focus and policy made on those nonfacts.

        My worldly experience includes but is not limited to: Close encounters with WS, USFWS, NPS, NFS, personnel as well as former Secs of Interior, regional directors of USFWS, state Governors, game wardens and wildlife/hunting lobby agencies (aka F&G) in several states and attended more federal and state public hearings than I can actually remember in one sitting. I know that many of them know me by sight and absolutely loathe the thought of having to face the questions I ask them in front of everyone else. I have no patience with so-called public servants who don’t understand their responsibilities to the public which includes folks who aren’t their friends and political benefactors. Most of them can’t honestly justify their tax-payer provided income and should be publicly held accountable for receiving any tax funded monies for their “service” without satisfying their oaths of office.

        So where’s the conspiracy? I asked a question at the beginning of this reply thread, it may have included insinuation but well deserved insinuation given the context and my past experiences as I clearly stated earlier. I defer to Mr. Jackson’s tales of woe because he really had to deal with the corruption on a daily basis and eloquently articulates them.

        Maybe you could share some of your history/worldly experience(s) with such conditions so we can all assess your authority on the topic.


      19. Jay Avatar

        Grammatical corrections? Really Salle? You want to be the spelling nazi of this blog now? Must be nice to be perfect? Then an attack on my reading comprehension? Grow up. You want to make foolish accusations, go right ahead, but you are the one that looks ignorant with statements like that. “I asked a question at the beginning of this reply thread, it may have included insinuation but well deserved insinuation given the context and my past experiences as I clearly stated earlier.” Well derserved? The world according to Salle! You have ZERO knowledge of the officer, his integrity, the facts of the case, etc., but you apparently are judge, jury, and executioner on all things law enforcement-related because you’ve been to various meetings–that makes you an expert on this? Anyways, you go ahead and continue to jump to conclusions with no fact and only personal bias, and I’ll continue to use fact and logic before making up in my mind whether any impropriety occurred.

      20. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson

        I just came in and reread what you had asked and see I didn’t read close enough. I know nothing about the Whites leather bottom thinsulite boots. I do know the leather bottomed packers I first wore were very dangerous both riding and walking in wet ground…or even slippery grass. One loses the stirrup too easily with leather. Composition soles work better….and I don’t care what any cowboy says.

      21. Salle Avatar

        Ha! Sounds more like I stuck a raw nerve… If you reread your little temper-tantrum missive, it doesn’t appear that you have any room to be demanding anyone to “grow up”. You obviously have reading comprehension issue though… your problem, not mine.

        Time to go out and enjoy some wolf viewing and get away from electro-world, the only folks worth reading today are those I don’t have any disagreements with anyway, ta tah.

      22. Jay Avatar

        By the by, Bob, I don’t intend any disrespect your way, you obviously have been around the block and all and have experience the the field. However, I don’t believe one should make baseless accusations or attack someone’s integrity without evidence, your experience in the field notwithstanding.

      23. Jay Avatar

        You demonstrate a real lack of class and maturity salle. Ta tah yourself.

      24. Salle Avatar

        How would you know?

      25. SAP Avatar

        Bob – these are the boots I refer to:


        Agreed that leather soles should be reserved for the dance floor! Never know when you might have to walk out, and I have never had the mini-Vibram hang up in the stirrup.

      26. bob jackson Avatar
        bob jackson


        Thanks for the link. Those insulated packers look pretty good. Probably would have tried them for late fall patrol….but also still would have taken the overshoes along.

        I went through two pair of packers in thirty years. Lots of replacement soles and lowers. Probably put thirty thousand miles on them walking in front of the horse.

        In looking at the packer picture I did see one thing I’d change. Get rid of the hook eyelets. I never used these “quick” hitchs but saw lots of others use them. Laces don’t stay snug and those eyelets turn into razor sharp edges that chew up the fenders and stirrup straps.

      27. SAP Avatar

        Excellent point about the “speed laces,” Bob. I figure if you’re going to pay $525 for a pair, you should be able to get the eyelets you want.

  5. JB Avatar

    Folks should read the rest of this story. Tony Mayer is by no means “off the hook” yet.

    “Israel dismissed the felony charge “without prejudice,” which means that the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has the option to refile the charge. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback said Thursday that “we plan to refile.”

  6. Jeff Avatar

    The law simply says the Boone and Crocket measuring process shall be used and that poached bulls over 300 total points are elgible for a felony charge. After 60 days if this bull is still over 300 felony charges will be refiled.

    1. Craig Avatar

      It’s a bow kill, it should fall under the Pope and Young scoring which has a lower minimum number than Boone and Crocket. 260 is the minimum score for Pope And Young while Boone and Crockets minimum is 360.

      1. Save bears Avatar

        P&Y and B&C are measured the same way, they just have different minimums to be placed in the record book, a 300 point threshold is what we are talking about for felony charges, not getting him in the book.

        If you change the law to reflect the book minimums then your going to have poachers shooting bigger bulls with a gun and then on be charge with a minor crime.

        I Myself think any poaching incident should be a felony

      2. Jay Avatar

        It makes no difference be it bow or rifle–Idaho uses their own min. score of 300 as the cutoff for “trophy” elk.

  7. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    If only Poachers recieved the same ” judgment” as the Poachee…

    1. jon Avatar

      Cody, this may have been posted already, but have you seen this link and is there any truth to it?


    2. jon Avatar

      My bad, it appears that you have as you posted some comments.

  8. SAP Avatar

    I think Mr. Mayer is in trouble no matter what:

    “While Magistrate Court Judge R. Ted Israel dismissed a felony count of unlawful killing of a trophy bull elk, he found during a preliminary hearing that Mayer illegally killed the animal. ”

    Regardless of felony or misdemeanor status (& I agree with SB that ALL poaching should be felony status), Mr. Mayer ends up looking really bad:

    A poacher who killed a big bull but got off on an “OJ” evidence technicality;

    A guy who can’t follow the rules (even if he DID put an arrow in the bull during legal season, it would appear that he neglected to obtain the proper license to do until after the fact);

    A guy who sticks an arrow in an animal and lets it suffer for two days, which is very much at odds with stuff he writes on saveelk.com. For some reason I can’t copy quotes directly from his site, but there are numerous lamentations about how wolves make elk suffer.

    Really? Like suffering for two days with a steel broadhead stuck through your ribs? That kind of suffering?

    Wolves are what they are, and they are NOT moral agents. They can’t/don’t/won’t think about suffering or pain that they are inflicting as they kill. My dog is the same way — catches voles, nips them a few times, leaves them for dead once they stop trying to get away. I don’t like it, but I sure don’t expect him to do anything else.

    I sure hope we can expect Tony Mayer to consider the suffering he may cause when he goes afield. I know I do, and I pass up shots (rifle only, I don’t bowhunt) that seem iffy as a result.

    Humans are capable of moral reasoning. Those human hunters who don’t (only a very damaged few CAN’T, I believe) consider that their actions may cause suffering are treating wildlife as props in their own little narcissistic dramas.

    Also, I can’t piece it together from the story, but it seems that the antlers had already gone through the 60-day “shrinkage” period (can’t type that without thinking of a Seinfeld episode about “shrinkage”!) prior to F&G confiscating them and putting them in the freezer. Mayer had the elk for quite a while before F&G made the case, right?

      1. Save bears Avatar

        I agree, the drying period should not have even played into this issue, those horns have been dry for over a year now, putting them in the freeze is not going to make any difference at all to the final score at this point in time…somebody is playing a shell game here…

      2. Save bears Avatar

        Oops “Antlers” not “Horns”

  9. Elk275 Avatar

    The measurement came out at 303 1/8, which is 3 1/8 greater than 300. Each measurer will have a different measurement, just as every real estate appraiser will have different home value. Another measurer could come out below the 300 number and another might even be above. There is some judgement on part of the measurer and each measurer sees very small differences.

    It is an old trick to freeze one’s trophy then take it out of the freezer several days before official measurement.

  10. Nancy Avatar

    Bob, years ago when I first got to Montana I thought I needed a pair of cowboy (girl?) boots to kind of fit in so I made the purchase. First time I wore then I slipped and landed on my butt, they went back in the closet and have been there ever since. I think I might donate them to the puppy – she’s heading into the terrible twos.

    Elk, were you able to get your thoughts together on I-161?

    1. Save bears Avatar


      I am interested in your thoughts on 161 as well, that is the only initiative that I still have not decided on, so I would really be interested in reading your thoughts.


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.

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