These days, some hunters may readily admit they could use a consulting attorney to help navigate through sometimes-confusing and often-tedious state hunting laws and regulations. If it’s any consolation, it may help to know even those in charge of game and fish agencies can unknowingly run afoul of their own regulations.

A few weeks ago, after realizing he’d just shot two sage grouse in the wrong county for his permit, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Director Jim Karpowitz contacted wildlife law enforcement officers and requested he be issued a citation for his violation.

While accompanied by two members of the Utah Wildlife Board on Sept. 29, Karpowitz shot the birds while hunting on a portion of the Deseret Land and Livestock Ranch in Morgan County, not in Rich County for which he was permitted.

Upon discovering his violation, Karpowitz, a hunter for 44 years and director of the state wildlife agency for the past five, immediately phoned wildlife law enforcement officers and requested that he be issued a citation for hunting outside the legal boundary. The birds were confiscated and the citation was issued by an officer Karpowitz has known his entire career.

Last week, the wildlife chief pleaded guilty and paid a $138 fine for his infraction.

Karpowitz sent an e-mail to roughly 500 DWR employees, detailing his actions and motivation.

“This incident demonstrated to me how easy it is to unintentionally violate a law while hunting. I also hope that if any of you find yourself in a similar situation that you will take prompt action to rectify your mistake,” he wrote. “I can tell you that even though this is very embarrassing, it feels good to have taken responsibility for the error I made and to hold myself accountable. I apologize if I have caused embarrassment to any of you, the Division, or the State of Utah.”