Montana outfitter pleads guilty to illegal mountain lion hunts

In one of the snowiest years on record, crews are working overtime to clear the streets. (David Murray/The Tribune) Wochit

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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.

More: Outfitter, clients accused of illegal Montana mountain lion hunt

More: Montana outfitter to plead guilty in illegal mountain lion hunt case

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.

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Moab business owner could lose hunting privileges after poaching case, DWR says

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, File

https://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=46295381

By Carter Williams, KSL.com


MOAB — The owner of La Sal Mountain Outfitters who recently pleaded guilty to felony wanton destruction of protected wildlife in connection with a 2016 case may also lose his hunting privileges for his role in poaching a cow elk, wildlife officials said.

Mark Thayn, 57, of Moab, pleaded guilty to the third-degree felony on Feb. 20, after he was charged with two other third-degree felonies and six other misdemeanors and infractions in 2017. He was placed on a three-year probation and eight other counts against him were dropped as a part of the plea.

In addition, Thayn agreed to pay $750 in restitution for the loss of the cow elk poached in 2016 and a $950 fine. Thayn’s conviction could be moved to a Class A misdemeanor after paying the fines and his probation, according to the plea agreement.

Thayn was accused of asking two California men to pay $2,000 each for a partially-guided cow elk hunt on a private property in 2016. When the men arrived in Utah, Thayn fraudulently charged the men an additional $400 for the licenses and gave them elk permits acquired from unsuccessful hunters several weeks prior, according to Division of Natural Resources officer Adam Wallerstein in a statement.

The men killed a cow elk and were attempting to harvest another when they were contacted by wildlife officers.

Wallerstein said Thayn will also pay restitution to the California hunters defrauded. Wallerstein added Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will pursue suspending Thayn’s hunting privileges in Utah and 46 other states for as much as seven years.

Wildlife officials said Thayn’s outfitting business was a legitimate licensing agent for the agency at the time the licenses were fraudulently sold in 2016.

Bollywood star jailed for hunting endangered species

 

Bollhttps://www.cbsnews.com/news/salman-khan-blackbuck-hunting-bollywood-star-prison-sentence-endangered-species/ywood actor Salman Khan (2nd L) arrives at a court in Jodhpur in the western state of Rajasthan, India, April 5, 2018.

 REUTERS

NEW DELHI — Bollywood star Salman Khan was convicted Thursday of poaching rare deer in a wildlife preserve two decades ago and sentenced to five years in prison. The busy actor contends he did not shoot the two blackbuck deer in the western India preserve in 1998 and was acquitted in related cases.

He was in court for the ruling in the western city of Jodhpur on Thursday. He is expected to be taken to a local prison while it could take days for his attorneys to appeal the conviction and seek bail.

Four other stars also accused in the case — Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam — were acquitted by Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri. They were in the jeep that Salman Khan was believed to be driving during the hunt. Tabu and Neelam both use just one name.

Khan had been sentenced to prison terms of between one and five years in related cases before being acquitted by appeals courts for lack of evidence.

salman khan

Bollywood actor Salman Khan is seen in a June 9, 2007 file photo.

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The blackbuck is an endangered species protected under the Indian Wildlife Act.

Khan has had other brushes with the law.

In 2014, the Mumbai High Court acquitted him in a drunken-driving, hit-and-run case.

The judges found that prosecutors had failed to prove charges of culpable homicide, in which they accused Khan of driving while intoxicated in 2002 and running over five men sleeping on a sidewalk, killing one of them.

The government of Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, has challenged his acquittal in the Supreme Court.

Police nab five poachers with trapping nets, weapons

https://www.nyoooz.com/news/bareilly/1069233/police-nab-five-poachers-with-trapping-nets-weapons/

  • By TOI
  • | Wednesday | 28th March, 2018

The spot where they were caught is a part of Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary in Kheri district. According to station house officer (SHO) RK Bharadwaj, police chased the poachers in the late hours of Tuesday following a lead. Pilibhit: Five poachers were arrested from the forest area near Sultanpur village on Wednesday morning by a police team of Seramau North police station, Pilibhit. Two trapping nets, one spear, a poleaxe and three daggers were seized from them. An FIR has been lodged in the matter and the accused have been jailed.All the accused are residents of Haripur Kishanpur village under Seramau North police station.

Pilibhit: Five poachers were arrested from the forest area near Sultanpur village on Wednesday morning by a police team of Seramau North police station, Pilibhit.

Two trapping nets, one spear, a poleaxe and three daggers were seized from them.

An FIR has been lodged in the matter and the accused have been jailed.All the accused are residents of Haripur Kishanpur village under Seramau North police station.

The spot where they were caught is a part of Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary in Kheri district.

According to station house officer (SHO) RK Bharadwaj, police chased the poachers in the late hours of Tuesday following a lead.

hunters fined $2,000

 

Two Sault Ste. Marie men were fined a total of $2,000 for an illegal deer hunt.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry received a complaint about two men hunting illegally on St. Jospeh Island in October 2016.

An investigation found Cameron Tucker and Evan Thorne were hunting a white-tailed deer when Tucker shot and killed a buck deer without a licence. The pair took the deer to a nearby camp to process. Tucker repeatedly gave false information to a conservation officer, a release says.

Tucker was fined $500 for unlawfully hunting a deer without a licence and $500 for obstructing a peace officer.

He was also handed a two-year hunting prohibition in addition to a three-year ban for another hunting offence.

Thorne was fined $1,000 for unlawfully possession an illegally killed deer.

Justice of the Peace James Bubba heard the case in Ontario Court of Justice in Sault Ste. Marie on Aug. 9.

3 men plead guilty to illegal hunting of bull bison

http://nbcmontana.com/news/local/3-men-plead-guilty-to-illegal-hunting-of-bull-bison

Yellowstone bison

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Three men have pleaded guilty to the illegal hunting and wasting of bull bison north of Yellowstone Park.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that Jesse Darr, Ryley Heidt and Peyton Simmons, all of Park County, were sentenced in justice court Tuesday for unlawful possession.

Each was ordered to pay fines and charges totaling $2,605 and each will lose hunting and fishing privileges for four and a half years.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens found three dead bison on March 2 in Beattie Gulch, a strip of Forest Service land near the Yellowstone border.

The heads of the three bison were each removed and usable meat was left to waste. The skulls were skinned and hidden nearby.

The men were linked to the kills with help from a dog.

South Sudan bans wildlife hunting

Source: Xinhua   2018-03-06 21:25:35
 http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-03/06/c_137020350.htm

JUBA, March 6 (Xinhua) — South Sudan on Tuesday banned all forms of wildlife hunting, including commercial trade in wildlife trophies, the country’s conservation agency said Tuesday.

The ministry of wildlife conservation and tourism banned wildlife products such as skin, meat, fur, bird feathers, among others.

According to the directive, any person caught dealing with wildlife products shall be arrested, prosecuted and those found guilty would face a two-year jailed term or fines.

Thomas Sebit, deputy spokesman of the ministry of wildlife conservation and tourism, told Xinhua that the ban seeks to clamp down on poaching of wild animals in the country’s national parks.

He said the government recently noticed increased poaching of gazelles, buffaloes and elephants by armed groups and civilians across the country.

“There are people who are holding guns, they go to the national parks and kill our animals randomly not discriminating whether old or young. You get cooked bush meat in hotels and being sold in markets openly,” Sebit said.

War-torn South Sudan has the world’s second largest animal migration and is considered a good place for ecotourism, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The East African country is also known for its vast swamp region of the Sudd, sometimes referred to as one of the largest wetlands in the world hosting about 400 species of birds.

However, the tourism industry made up only 1.8 percent of South Sudan’s GDP, WTTC said in 2013.

“We are urging our citizens to respect the law. These are animals for us and will help us in the future when well managed to boost our economy,” Sebit appealed.

Flagstaff man accused of illegally hunting mule deer, search warrant reveals trophies

 

Investigators recovered fhttp://www.12news.com/article/news/crime/flagstaff-man-accused-of-illegally-hunting-mule-deer-search-warrant-reveals-trophies/472775299

mule deer trophies at his home, including antlers believed to be from a well-known deer who lived in the Grand Canyon.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Several state and federal agencies served a search warrant on a man at his Flagstaff home and found mule deer trophies suspected to be illegally hunted.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department have been investigating the hunting activities of Loren McReynolds for several years now.

Investigators recovered five mule deer trophies at McReynolds’ home, including nontypical antlers believed to be from a well-known deer that lived within the Grand Canyon National Park boundaries, AZGFD said.

“The department has received many complaints about McReynolds’ hunting activities over the years,” said Gene Elms, Law Enforcement Branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department in a press release. “Thanks to those individuals who came forward and the diligence of our investigators, we have the evidence to pursue criminal charges for McReynolds’ actions.”

McReynolds has a previous history of alleged wildlife violations, and was arrested in January 2017 for weapons violations and for killing federally protected burros north of Williams, Ariz., according to AZGFD.

McReynolds faces possible jail time and court fines if convicted. In addition, the AZGFD has authority to seek civil restitution for the loss of wildlife to the state and suspend or revoke McReynolds’ hunting privileges.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages anyone with information about the illegal take of wildlife to call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-352-0700 or visit www.azgfd.com/ogt.

HUNTER WHO KILLED MOOSE OUT OF SEASON CONVICTED

http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com/local_news/20180219/hunter_who_killed_moose_out_of_season_convicted

COEUR d’ALENE — A Mica Bay man accused of killing a moose out of season was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial earlier this month in Coeur d’Alene.

But before he could be sentenced, John A. Huckabay, 65, flew to Africa where he works in the medical field.

The court expects him back April 27 for sentencing.

Huckabay is accused of killing a cow moose Oct. 2, 2014 near Red Hog Road at Mica Bay, on the northwest side of Lake Coeur d’Alene. He pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial.

Penalties and fines for killing a moose out of season include a $1,500 civil penalty and a $500 fine and no more than six months in jail. His hunting privileges could be revoked for a year, or up to life, at the discretion of the court.

Huckabay, who works in Africa for a University of Washington medical evaluation program that studies the spread of disease, is known to neighbors and Idaho Fish and Game as someone who likes to hunt.

Over the past decade Huckabay has been a fervent supporter of Idaho Fish and Game by purchasing a slew of hunting and fishing licenses, tags and permits.

The department said he had a tag in 2014 for moose in Unit 2 along the Spokane River, but not for Unit 5 near Mica Bay where the cow moose was killed after some neighbors reported it had become a nuisance.

Huckabay was charged after neighbors heard a rifle shot and later saw Huckabay hoisting a moose into the bed of a teal-colored pickup truck near Red Hog Road.

In an ensuing investigation Idaho Fish and Game officers found the spot where the moose was reportedly shot and killed and followed evidence to a skinned moose hanging at the shop of a butcher with a private operation in Coeur d’Alene.

A conservation officer stuck a thermostat in the meat to determine when the animal was killed, and DNA evidence showed it was from a cow moose, according to court testimony. Evidence pointed to a match between the moose at the butcher’s and the moose shot at Red Hog Road.

Fish and Game officers testified that Huckabay had been contacted by a neighbor about a problem moose, and allegedly told the neighbor he had a tag, that the season was open, although the season in that unit did not open for another two weeks. A short time later, according to testimony, Huckabay told the neighbor he had shot the moose.

After the trial, Huckabay, who has no previous criminal history, posted a $20,000 bond and was returned his passport so he could return to work overseas.

Before his next court appearance, Huckabay will travel to Madagascar, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore before returning to Coeur d’Alene to face First District Senior Judge Ben Simpson for sentencing.

Montana outfitter to plead guilty in illegal mountain lion hunt case

https://uw-media.greatfallstribune.com/video/embed/99711074?sitelabel=reimagine&continuousplay=true&placement=uw-smallarticleattophtml5&pagetype=story

In the most recent case of poaching in the Great Falls area, three deer were shot and killed and left northwest of town. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks turns to the public for help in cases like this.Wochit

A big game outfitter reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors regarding illegal mountain lion hunting practices uncovered by authorities in 2013. He will be the fourth of five men charged in the matter to accept a plea agreement.

Ernest Jablonsky, a Plains outfitter with Montana Big Game Pursuits, is scheduled to plead guilty next week to federal charges related to an illegal mountain lion hunt in 2013 near Prickly Pear Creek on U.S. Forest Service lands, prosecutors said in court documents filed Friday.

In exchange, prosecutors said in court documents they will dismiss charges stemming from a February 2013 mountain lion hunt near White Sulphur Springs, when authorities alleged Jablonsky also committed illegal practices like guiding without a permit and telling hunters to lie to state hunting officials about his involvement.

More: Outfitter, clients accused of illegal Montana mountain lion hunt

Jablonsky, 51-year-old outfitter at Montana Big Game Pursuits, is one of five men indicted in 2017 on federal charges relating to the two hunts. After his change of plea hearing, scheduled for Feb. 26, he will join three of those men who have taken plea deals in their respective cases; one man continues to fight charges, according to court records.

According to court documents, Jablonsky summoned two Wisconsin men, including co-defendant Jeffrey Perlewitz, to Montana in December 2013, when he reportedly had an open schedule for new outfitting clients. Jablonsky, court records say, did not have the required special use permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service to legally guide or outfit mountain lion hunts on federal land, where he and the Wisconsin hunters drove his pickup around the remote roads looking for cat tracks on Dec. 13 that year.

James Day, according to court records, worked the hunt as a hound dog handler, and successfully treed a lion, which Perlewitz shot and killed with his bow. That day he paid Jablonsky $1,500 for the hunt, but when he checked his lion in with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks the next day, Perlewitz reportedly said he had only used the services of the dog handler, and that his hunt was not outfitted.

In his required report to the Montana Board of Outfitters, Jablonsky never listed Perlewitz as a client, according to charging documents.

More: From bighorn sheep to bears to birds, cameras capture wildlife using underpasses

The plea agreement in Jablonsky’s case has been sealed, but federal prosecutors in court documents wrote that Jablonsky is willing to plead guilty to unspecified charges in the case following the hunt with Perlewitz in exchange for their dismissal of a February 2013 hunt near White Sulphur Springs.

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Perlewitz is the only defendant in the case who has not taken a plea deal offered by federal prosecutors. In January, a judge granted a time extension requested by both parties to continue preparing for trial.

Perlewitz was indicted on Oct. 23 on charges including conspiracy to illegally hunt and kill mountain lions, illegal sale of outfitted mountain lion hunts and false labeling; in total, he could face a possible 15 years in prison and more than $250,000 in fines.

Day, the dog handler, pleaded guilty on Dec. 19 to the illegal sale of mountain lion hunts, which carries a possible five-year prison sentence and a maximum $250,000 fine. His sentencing has been set for April 3.

Mitch Theule, a guide with Montana Big Game Pursuits, pleaded guilty on Feb. 12 to aiding and abetting the interstate transport and possession of an illegally killed mountain lion, which carries a possible one-year prison term and maximum $10,000 fine. His sentencing has been set for June 13.

Theule’s case stems from the February 2013 near White Sulphur Springs, when Jablonsky, Day and Theule reportedly brought Richard Ceynar, of North Dakota, mountain lion hunting on national forest land where Jablonsky did not have the permits to outfit or guide.

According to court documents, the four men, and an unnamed associate of Ceynar, went hunting on Feb. 7 and late that afternoon treed a lion near the top of a steep mountain. Day and Theule reportedly went up the mountain by snowmobile, while Jablonsky and Ceynar got stuck on a different route. As Jablonsky and Ceynar traveled to the tree on foot, they communicated with the others with two-way radios, charging documents state.

When Ceynar shot the treed lion, it was past legal shooting hours, according to court documents. Additionally, authorities say Theule had illuminated the lion with a headlamp while Ceynar shot.

Like the case with Perlewitz’s hunt, Ceynar reported to FWP that his hunt was not outfitted, according to court documents. And when the North Dakota hunters paid Jablonsky for the hunt, the memo on the check read “two elk hunts.” Prosecutors allege they did so at Jablonsky’s direction.

Ceynar pleaded guilty on Dec. 22 to conspiracy to interstate transportation and possession of an illegally killed mountain lion. His sentencing is set for April 6.