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The 50 Biggest Poaching Fines in History
Check out these big punishments doled out for big wildlife violators
November 11, 2010
Poaching gives all hunters a bad name, and throughout history there have been some incredible poaching cases. To highlight the hardwork of wildlife officials, OL put together a list of the greatest poaching fines in U.S. history. The list is ranked in order of largest fine (at the end of the gallery there are poachers who served jail time but did not recieve any fines).
$120,000 fine; three-year hunting ban on its ranch; levied in 2005 against the Edwin L. Cox, Sr. Trust for baiting migratory waterfowl for five years on its ranch in Anderson County, Texas.
$100,000 fine; one year in federal prison; forfeiture of three aircraft; levied in 1988 against Ron Hayes, King Salmon, Alaska, for a wide range of offenses, including illegal airborne hunting, in 1985-86.
Photo: Ansgar Walk
$100,000 in fines and restitution; suspension of hunting, fishing, trapping privileges worldwide for three years; levied in 2000 against Fredric Clark, 55, of Toney, Ala., for illegally killing more than 90 animals, including mule deer, white-tailed deer, antelope, and black bear, as part of a commercial poaching in Rosebud County, Mont. This investigation resulted in $149,000 in federal and state fines and restitution, and 40 years of revoked hunting privileges in Montana and 12 other states, for 21 defendants.
$90,000 in fines and restitution; two years federal probation; forfeiture of two shotguns; suspension of hunting privileges; lifetime ban on guiding or outfitting; levied in 2007 against Orlan and Theodore Metz, and the Sheyenne Valley Lodge, in Goodrich, N.D., for unlawful transportation and sale of wildlife in 2004-05. The case also involved seven guides and 94 hunters from 27 states resulting in fines totaling $120,000.
$73,534 in fines and restitution; two years in prison; levied in 2006 against Adam Lee Lawinger, of Blue River, Wisc., for guiding individuals without hunting permits and selling or transporting wildlife across state lines in Richland County, Wisc., between 2002-05.
$63,000 in fines and restitution, hunting privileges suspended, and listed as habitual offenders with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in 2005 for Travis Umbdenstock, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Tim Hansel, Jacob Hansel, and Josh Hansel, all of Mantel, Iowa, for illegally killing 12 deer in Iowa.
Photo: Noel Zia Lee
$60,000 fine and restitution; two years of federal probation with home detention; forfeiture of five firearms; nationwide revocation of hunting privileges; levied in 2006 against Warren W. Anderson of Bowman, N.D., for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by killing five hawks and transporting over-limit pheasants out of North Dakota in 2004.
$54,346 in fines and restitution; 20-year suspension of hunting, fishing, trapping privileges in Montana and 30-plus other states; deferred imposition of a jail/probation sentence for three years; levied in January 2010 against James Mockerman of Hamilton, Mont., for running an illegal outfitting operation for eight years.
$52,744 in fines and restitution; 20 years probation; lifetime suspension of hunting, fishing, trapping privileges in Montana; levied in December 2007 against Philip Mark Payton of Seeley Lake, Mont., who illegally killed 86 deer, antelope, elk, moose, black bear and mountain goats between 1990-2005.
$50,000 in fines and restitution; one year in federal prison; two years supervised release; lifetime suspension of hunting, fishing, trapping privileges in Montana and 19 other states; levied in January 2006 against John "Dan" McDonald of Gardiner. Mont., for running an unlicensed commercial hunting operation between 1999-2004 that illegally killed 44 animals.
$50,000 fine; three years' probation; lifetime revocation of hunting privileges in Oregon, California, and 24 other states; issue a public apology in several eastern Oregon newspapers; testify in other poaching cases; levied in April 2009 against Ronald Ray Jurin, of Redding, Calif., for killing a 14-point bull elk without a tag in the Wenaha Unit of northeastern Oregon in September 2006.
$50,000 fine levied in April 2010 against Game Trails LLC, a 12,000-acre hunting preserve in Union and Crittenden counties, Ky., and site manager William Dirk McTavish, Jr., of Paducah, Ky., for taking wildlife unlawfully, making false statements, and interstate transporting of wildlife in 2006. Game Trails LLC was assessed $35,000, McTavish $15,000.
$45,900 in fines and restitution; 300 days in jail (suspended); forfeiture of a boat, boat motor, recreational vehicle and hides of one brown and one black bear; loss of Alaska hunting privileges for five years; levied in 2007 against Lester Conklin of Patten, Maine, for illegally providing outfitting services and illegally baiting bears in 2005-06 at his lodge on Donkey Lake near Skwentna, Alaska. His wife, Marie Conklin, was fined $18,000 and their son, Jason Conklin, $8,000.
$29,150 in fines and restitution; five-year supervised probation; lifetime revocation of hunting privileges; levied in 2005 against Christian Witt, of Battleground, Wash., for felony conspiracy and 12 misdemeanor wildlife charges.
$28,385 in fines and restitution in 2008 levied against Carson Kemmer, of Washington state, in plea bargain to avoid jail time and testify against an unlicensed outfitter/poacher who helped him illegally kill and waste the meat of two sub-legal Dall sheep, a moose, a brown bear and a caribou within 10 days during 2006 hunt in the Brooks Range near Turnagain Arm, Alaska.
$26,700 fine; revocation of his hunting and trapping privileges; forfeiture of eight firearms; levied in 2005 against Michael Allen Lake, of Burnt Cabins, Pa., for 33 of counts of illegally killing whitetail deer and 51 counts of illegally killing wild turkey between 1979 and 2002.
$25,000 fine; forfeiture of three rifles; revocation of hunting privileges for three years; revocation of outfitters license for three years; levied in 2007 against Gerald W. Johns of Double X Outfitters, Rockport, Ill., for the illegal kill and transport of whitetail deer in November 2005.
$24,000 in fines and restitution ($13,500 suspended); 570 days in prison (535 suspended); seven years probation; suspension of guiding license for five years; forfeiture of guns and a Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser; levied in 2005 against David Haeg of Soldotna, Alaska, for illegally killing wolves while working in a state predator control program near McGrath, Alaska, in 2004.
$23,000 in fines and restitution; 1,000 hours of community service; suspended hunting privileges for six years; levied in 2005 against Jason Mullaney of Butte, Mont., for illegally killing 17 deer, five antelope, two black bears and a mountain goat.
$22,610 in fines and restitution ($9,000 suspended); 2-4 years in prison (all but six months suspended); nine years probation; hunting, fishing, trapping privileges suspended for 15 years; levied in 2006, for Landen Wisell, of Pinedale, Wyo., for felony destruction of state property, killing a bull moose without a license, killing a horned antelope without a license, two counts of killing a deer out of season, and two counts of wanton destruction of deer in 2004.
$21,252 in restitution; one year probation; nationwide revocation of hunting privileges; levied in 2004 against Robin Shafer of Lewiston, Idaho, for illegally shooting and killing a wolf during a 2003 elk hunt near Elk River, Idaho.
$19,000 in fines and restitution, 20 years and four months in prison (15 suspended), lifetime suspension of hunting privileges worldwide, lifetime prohibition against gun ownership, in 2003, for Dean Ruth, or Seeley Lake, Mont., for poaching more than 100 trophy animals including deer, elk, moose and bear in 2003.
$18,225 in fines and court costs; 57 days in jail; one year in jail for probation violations; levied in 2009 against Bob Minton, of Fort Sumner, N.M., for three counts of unlawful possession of deer and two counts of unlawful killing of deer -- including a near state-record white-tail.
Charles and Clint
$18,000 in fines and restitution; 21 months in prison; forfeiture of 24 firearms sold by government for $12,205; lifetime revocation of Missouri hunting privileges; levied in 2007 against John Partney of Van Buren, Mo., for poaching in Missouri and Montana from 1994 through the early 2000s.
$17,600 in fines and restitution; forfeiture of rifles, two full-mounted brown bears, and bear skull; levied in 2007 against Gerald T. Thull, of West Bend, Wisc., for illegal brown bear hunting and illegal guiding in Alaska, and violating the Lacey Act by transporting, receiving and acquiring the illegally-killed bears in interstate commerce, from Alaska to Wisconsin in October 1999.
$17,000 in fines and restitution (all but $5,500 waived); 2-3 years in prison; 2.5 years in jail (concurrent with prison sentence); 20-year revocation of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges; levied in 2006 against Michael Benjamin Acuna of Green River, Wyo., for poaching four mule deer bucks in November 2005 near Boulder, Wyo.
No fine, but 33 months in federal prison and 36 months probation in 2007 for Brian Becker of Minnesota for smuggling 14 white-tailed buck deer from Minnesota to a ranch in Grimes County, Texas, in October 2006.
$15,000 in fines and restitution; six-month suspended jail sentence; three years probation; suspended fishing privileges for three years; levied in 2003 against James P. Mucciarone, of Conneaut, Ohio, for poaching thousands of yellow perch from Lake Erie and selling them on the commercial market.
$15,000 in fines; 60 days in jail; 18 months in prison (suspended); probation; banned from hunting and entering any national park for five years; levied in 1991 against Donald Eugene Lewis, of Alabama, for 14 deer-poaching charges in Utah in 1991, and for poaching big game in Yellowstone National Park from the early 1980s through 1991.
$15,000 in fines and restitution levied in 2005 against John Pittman, of Kinston, N.C., for illegally shooting three bucks in Iowa.
$14,820 in fines and restitution; 90 days in jail; 2 1/2 years supervised probation; suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 24 years in Wyoming and 16 other states; levied in 2001 against Jesse S. Newman of Big Born, Wyo., for poaching four trophy-class white-tailed deer and one mule deer near Big Horn between 1999 and 2001.
$14,729 in fines and restitution; forfeiture of a muzzleloader rifle; levied in 2007 against Gary R. Jordan, of Victor, Colo., for unlawfully hunting elk without a proper and valid license, and the illegal take of a Samson bull elk.
$13,277 in fines; 60 days in jail (50 suspended; seven days electronic home monitoring); 60 hours of community service; suspended hunting privileges for three years; levied in February 2009 against Justin Angles, of Fostoria, Ohio, and Dan Mahoney, of Akron, Ohio, for illegally killing a "celebrity" 15-point white-tailed deer in Side Cut Metropark, Ohio, in early October 2008. Angles was also ordered to pay $1,156 in court costs, and Mahoney was ordered to pay $764 in court costs.
$11,702 in fines; suspension of hunting privileges for five years in Colorado and 31 other states; levied in 2008 for Mitchell Phelps, of Athens, Texas, for illegally killing a bull elk in the wrong game management unit and then lying about location to game wardens in September 2007 west of the Uncompahgre Plateau near Montrose, Colo.
$10, 025 in fines and restitution; 180 days of home confinement; three years of supervised probation; levied in 2005 for Kip Lastrapes, of Breaux Bridge, La., for taking alligators without harvest tags in September 2004.
$10,000 in fines and restitution; six months in jail with work release; four years probation; 150 hours of community service; nationwide revocation of hunting, gun-owning privileges for three years; levied in 2005, against Michael James Gates, of Yakima, Wash., for killing a trophy-class bull elk and two mule deer while hunting illegally in southeast Washington in October 2002.
$10,000 fine; 4,500 hours of community service; lifetime revocation of gun ownership and hunting privileges; levied in 2008 against Kirt Darner, of Crawford, N.M., for transporting wild elk and receiving stolen property -- specifically, two Colorado sheep heads in 2005.
Alan D. Wilson
$10,000 in fines and restitution levied in 2005 against Donald Rouse, of LeGrange, N.C., for illegally shooting two bucks in Iowa.
$9,655.50 in fines and restitution; six months in jail (three months suspended); suspended hunting privileges for three years; levied in 2004 against Ronald J. Johnson, of Dwale, Ky., for poaching an elk in early September 2004 on Ivy Creek near Ivel, Ky.
$9,585 in fines and restitution ($8,585 suspended in lieu of 100 hours community service); five days in jail or 10 days house arrest; two years probation; revoked hunting privileges for two years; levied in December 20009 against Jeff Parker, of Freeport, Ohio, for spotlighting, hunting without written permission, providing false information to a check station, and two counts of possessing illegal deer parts, including a 170-class whitetail buck, in the fall of 2008 in Ohio.
$9,500 in fines and restitution; 60 days in jail; 36 months probation; forfeiture of a .22-caliber rifle; revocation of hunting privileges for 34 years; levied in 2009 against Gary Smith, of Panguitch, Utah, for illegally killing 11 deer and two pronghorn in south-central Utah in 2008-09.
$8,540 each in fines and restitution; forfeiture of two .17 caliber rifles with scopes; revocation of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for five years; levied in 2008 against Michael J. Meeks of Pinedale, Wyo., and Cody R. Post of Riverton, Wyo., for killing a buck mule deer during a closed season at night near Daniel, Wyo., on Oct. 31, 2007.
$7,105 in fines; two years probation; 100 hours community service work at Ducks Unlimited and/or California Waterfowl Association projects; one-year suspension of California hunting privileges; levied in 2008 against Ignatius Ciraulo, of Gilroy, Calif., for poaching 335 waterfowl in 2007-08.
$6,851 fine; 21 days in jail; probation for four years, loss of hunting privileges for five years; levied in 2006 against Mike J. Edwards, of Troy, Idaho, for illegally killing three elk in 2005 in Idaho.
$6,130 in fines; one year in jail (suspended); one year unsupervised probation; five-year suspension of hunting privileges; levied in 2008 against Jonathan L. Hefner, of Rock Springs, Wyo., for intentionally hitting and killing two antelope with his vehicle on Dec. 7, 2007, and posting the photos on the Internet.
$6,000 fine; two years supervised probation; two years suspension of North American hunting privileges; 80 hours community service; levied in 2006 against Michael Renner, of Dickinson, N.D., for killing two elk inside the boundary of Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora, N.D., in October 2005.
$2,000 in fines and restitution; one year in jail; suspension of hunting privileges for five years; forfeiture of bow; levied in March 2010 against Troy Alan Reinke, of Cannon Falls, Minn., for poaching a world-record 8-point white-tailed buck on Halloween 2009 in Goodhue County, Minn. A preliminary scoring measured its antlers at about 190 gross and 185 net. Had the animal been killed legally, it would have been the largest 8-pointer ever registered by Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young.
No fine, but 15 years in federal prison and five years probation, in 1986, for Loren Jay Ellison, of Wyoming, following a November 1981 to October 1984 investigation into poaching in Yellowstone National Park that spanned six states and several foreign countries and resulted in 33 convictions.
No fine, but 18 years in prison, (nine suspended), five years probation, two years of parole., in 2007, for Rita Floyd, of Pleasanton, N.M., for racketeering and fraud in connection with an illegal hunting operation.
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