In one of the snowiest years on record, crews are working overtime to clear the streets. (David Murray/The Tribune) Wochit
The owner, operator and outfitter for a Plains big game hunting business pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court to illegally offering mountain lion hunts in areas in which he wasn’t permitted to offer such pursuits.
Ernest Jablonsky, of Big Game Pursuits, changed his plea as part of a deal signed earlier this month. As part of that deal, prosecutors agreed to drop two other charges, including conspiracy to illegally hunt and kill mountain lions, and false labeling, as well as a separate case, which stemmed from another illegal mountain lion hunt from the same year.
Jablonsky’s case at hand was filed after authorities learned he had offered to take two Wisconsin men, including co-defendant Jeffrey Perlewitz, on a mountain lion hunt in December 2013. According to court documents, Jablonsky did not have a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service to legally guide such hunts on national forest lands, according to court documents.
“I took Mr. Perlewitz where I did not have permits to take money for it, and he paid me for it,” Jablonsky, 51, told U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston on Tuesday.
Court documents state Jablonsky also told the Wisconsin hunters to tell Montana hunting officials that they didn’t use a guide or outfitting service. Additionally, Jablonsky allegedly did not report the hunters when he turned in his own industry reports.
His sentencing has not yet been set.
Perlewitz is now the last person indicted on related charges to have not accepted a plea deal, as court records indicate he is expecting to take the case to trial.