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Idaho poachers receive lifetime hunting ban in two separate incidents

July 14, 2009 | 10:45 am

A whitetail buck stands alert in a field.  

Idaho judges are handing down stiff sentences to poachers.

In two separate incidents, state magistrates imposed lifetime hunting bans on individuals convicted of illegally killing deer.

In June, Athol, Idaho, resident Timothy Herbert lost his hunting rights, was ordered to pay $12,400 in penalties and fines and sentenced to four years supervised probation after pleading guilty to illegally killing five deer. Herbert had spotlighted the deer after legal hunting hours, using his vehicle headlights to freeze the animals so that he could shoot them.

"[The judge] should be commended for recognizing the severity of the violation and protecting the wildlife resource by revoking Herbert's hunting and trapping privileges for life," said Idaho Fish and Game officer Dan Hislop. "It is sad that Hebert will not be able to hunt with his four sons but hopefully they and others will recognize the consequences of poaching."

The investigation began after an anonymous call to the state's Citizens Against Poaching hotline.

"This case would not have been made if not for a concerned sportsman that called the CAP hotline," said Hislop, who was the lead conservation officer in the investigation. "The information reported was enough for me to locate Herbert's residence and the truck used when poaching."

In an unrelated case last week, James Hollahan, from Burley, Idaho, pleaded guilty to charges of taking big game with a firearm during muzzleloader season. His wife, Jami, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the crimes. Both received lifetime hunting bans and have been ordered to pay more than $3,000 in total fines and penalties.

The lifetime bans will be enforced elsewhere in the nation. Idaho is a member of the 31-state Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, an agreement that recognizes suspension of hunting, trapping and fishing licenses in member states, including California.

California may also be cracking down on illegal hunting. As reported in Greenspace, a legislative bill to impose stiffer penalties for some poaching violations is under consideration and may pass the state Senate this summer.

While I applaud the harsher sentences that wildlife poachers are receiving in an attempt to curtail illegal hunting, I wonder if the lack of a hunting license, larger fines or threat of incarceration will deter these scofflaws from committing the same crime in the future. 

After all, they don't abide by the laws to begin with.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A whitetail buck stands alert in a field. Credit: N. & M.J. Mishler / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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