PRESTON (AP) — A judge has sentenced six men in eastern Idaho after they pleaded guilty to poaching 16 elk and three mule deer, authorities said.
Jay Reeder, Brandon Porter, Rick Earl, Jesse Earl, Dustin Hollingsworth and Brian Miller reached plea agreements for killing the 19 animals near Preston in the fall of 2018, including several trophy class animals.
All of the men are from Preston, except Miller who is from Pennsylvania, KBOI-TV reported.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game launched an investigation after multiple animals were poached over several months on “Reeder Ranch” and surrounding property without regard for season, weapon restrictions and tagging requirements.
“Most of the animals were simply shot and left with no attempt to salvage the meat; some with rifles during muzzleloader seasons and others when the seasons were completely closed,” said Cody Allen, regional investigator.
Members of the group also unlawfully killed pheasants, magpies, and wild turkeys baited onto the property, department officials said.
Reeder and Porter each pleaded guilty to four felonies for killing three mule deer bucks and 13 of the 16 elk. They each received lifetime revocations of their hunting privileges, a two year suspended prison sentence and each spent 30 days in jail.
Rick Earl pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor for killing two elk and illegally possessing three other poached elk and deer. He received a two year suspended prison sentence, five years of felony-supervised probation and a five-year hunting license revocation. He served 10 days in jail.
Reeder, Porter and Rick Earl were also order to 50 hours of community service, pay a combined $72,000 and forfeit their guns and animals.
The other three men involved – Jesse Earl, Miller and Hollingsworth pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their role in attempting to legitimize the poached elk by taking tags of others to cover the unlawfully taken elk. They each received one-year hunting license revocations and combined fines, civil reimbursement and court costs totaling more than $3,700.