Travis Smola

Idaho Poachers Who Illegally Took 16 Elk, 3 Deer Face Fines and Jail Time

Six men sentenced for poaching of numerous trophy animals.

With the crazy negative news cycle of 2020, we will take any good news we can get at this point. Six poachers now must pay over $75,000 in reimbursement over a 2018 elk and mule deer poaching case in Idaho.

In a press release on their website, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said that the poaching took place on private property. In addition to trespassing, the IDGF says the men wasted most of the meat, taking only the antlers and some select cuts of meat from other poached animals. The group targeted large groups of animals and game wardens found evidence the men made no attempt to recover other animals that were crippled in the poaching spree. IDGF Regional Investigator Cody Allen says it seems as if the men "just couldn't stop killing."

Named in the case are Brandon Porter, Jay Reeder, Jesse Earl, Rick Earl, Brian Miller and Dustin Hollingsworth.

"These men demonstrated a complete disregard for wildlife and wildlife laws and used the seclusion of private property - theirs and trespassing on others - to carry out their desire to kill and poach, stealing animals from legitimate sportsmen and women and leaving most of them to waste.

According to the press release, all six men reached plea agreements with Franklin County Prosecutors, but they are not getting off lightly. Authorities considered Reeder and Porter to be the biggest offenders in the case. They were responsible for the three mule deer and 13 of the elk deaths. Authorities also hit the two men with felony possession of a controlled substance when they carried out a search warrant at Reeder Ranch during the investigation.

The two men spent 30 days in jail already and were given suspended two-year prison sentences. The men could face those sentences if they violate the terms of a 20-year felony supervised probation. They also lost all hunting privileges for life in the case.

Rick Earl was the next biggest violator according to the IDGF. Authorities say he pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor in the case. This stemmed from his illegal take of two of the elk and illegal possession of three other poached animals. Rick Earl only received a suspension of hunting privileges for five years, but he also served 10 days in jail and will be also have a two-year suspended prison sentence that could be handed out by the courts if he violates a five-year parole. He will also have to complete 50 hours of community service. As the three biggest violators in the case, Earl, Reeder and Porter will feel the biggest hit to their wallets. The three men were ordered to pay $72,050 in combined fines and restitution for the animals.

The other three men in the case, Jesse Earl, Hollingsworth and Miller were hit with one-year losses of hunting privileges and misdemeanors for allegedly trying to cover up the crimes by either possessing the animals or using the tags of other hunters to make the kills look legal.

The three men will also have to pay a combined $3,767 in reimbursement, fines and court costs in the case. The IDFG says it was not just big game this group targeted. They also found cases where the group had poached magpies, wild turkeys and pheasants. Reeder and Porter also illegally sold antlers and meat to fund the purchase of a new rifle.

The press release notes that firearms were confiscated in the case and as felons, Reeder, Porter and Rick Early will no longer be able to possess any firearms.

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