At the recent Sportsmenís Heritage Defense Fund Conference in Nampa on February 22, Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game displayed the antlers of the four trophy elk poached in Owyhee County last November. It was very effective to view these incredibly massive antlers which most of us dream we might someday have a chance to just see as they move past and disappear in a misty dawn.
Two of the four Oregon men were sentenced on January 13. James Kershner and Patrick Stanford, both from the Jordan Valley, Oregon area, were told by 3rd District Magistrate Thomas Ryan in Murphy that their penalties were: two years each of unsupervised probation; three years of fishing, hunting and trapping licenses revocation; fines of $1,850 each, and 180 days in jail (120 suspended and only nights in jail after ten full days there.) Their days are free to continue to make a living and to have the means to pay for the privilege of spending nights in their County jail -- $35 each for each night. And, finally, they were required to write apologies to the citizens of Idaho in various newspapers.
Idaho is a member of the Western Wildlife Violator Compact, making the license revocations automatic in other member states: Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Washington for 3 years.
Charges against Mylinda Kershner were dropped. But, the other two accomplices, Patrick Payne and Jerry White, will each pay over $1,000 in fines, do 100 hours of community service, plus lose their licenses for 3 years. Their 100 hours must be spent improving Idahoís wildlife resources and they must develop their own project proposal for approval by the court. The project must be completed by August 1, 1997.
All four bulls were trophies. Three were 6x6ís, and the fourth a 7x7. The latter would have been the third largest bull ever taken in Idaho and the largest in three decades -- if it had been legally harvested. The bulls were taken on Juniper Mountain near the Oregon/Idaho border.
Because of this case and another in the Salmon region involving illegal killing of several elk, Idahoans demanded new legislation to make poaching penalties more severe in cases of "flagrant violations". Idaho Wildlife Federation led the push for new penalties. The legislation has passed and has been signed into law by the Governor. The new law provides for higher fines, much higher civil penalties and allows lifetime revocation of hunting licenses. The Federation is considering going back next year for legislation to add confiscation of hunting gear to the law, a provision that was sought but not included in this yearís legislation.
More on Poaching
Three other men were sentenced in December by Lemhi County Magistrate Fred Snook for poaching elk in the Salmon Region. Two of the men already had their licenses revoked two weeks before for the same reason! The three, Keith Hescock and Dennis Christensen, both of Idaho Falls, and Duane Christensen from Garland, Utah, were sentenced to: hunting licenses revoked for six years, 90 days in jail, suspended pending further violations, and total fines of $16,257.
Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) Hotline: 1-800-632-5999
Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.