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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: poaching

Wildlife advocate pleads guilty to poaching

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho director for the wildlife advocacy group Greater Yellowstone Coalition has pleaded guilty to poaching two elk. The Idaho State Journal (http://bit.ly/SxHTxs ) reports Marv Hoyt is currently on vacation and will retire from his post at the end of the year. Hoyt pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor charges of unlawful taking of game and wasteful destruction of wildlife. Prosecutors said Hoyt only had one elk tag but that he killed three cow elk during a November hunting trip in Caribou County. Fish and Game officer Blake Phillips found the three elk carcasses. The first elk had been gutted and the meat taken, but the other two had not been harvested.

Rammell loses second appeal in elk poaching case

Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has lost his second appeal over a 2010 elk poaching charge, with the Idaho Court of Appeals ruling unanimously that two lower courts correctly upheld Rammell’s misdemeanor conviction. He challenged it on multiple grounds, nearly all centering around his contention that the state didn’t prove he intended to unlawfully kill an elk in the Tex Creek Zone on Nov. 30, 2010. But the high court found that the offense requires no specific intent. “It only requires general intent, namely, that a person knowingly possessed an animal protected under the statute, not that he or she intended to commit a crime,” wrote Court of Appeals Judge David Gratton.

He added, “Rammell does not argue that he did not kill an elk in the wrong hunting zone. His argument rests on the fact that he thought he was allowed to kill an elk wherever he wanted during open season. As the state notes, Rammell’s argument is actually a defense of ignorance of the law. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Regardless of whether Rammell intended to violate the law, he still had the intent to possess the elk.”

Rammell gained notoriety in the state after a herd of domestic elk at his eastern Idaho hunting ranch escaped in 2006, prompting then-Gov. Jim Risch to order the escaped animals shot to avoid spreading disease to the state’s wild elk herds. Rammell fought an extended but unsuccessful court battle over that incident, culminating in an Idaho Supreme Court decision against him in September. He also launched a political career out of it, running against Risch for the U.S. Senate in 2008 as an independent and getting 5 percent of the vote.

In 2010, Rammell ran for governor, losing to Gov. Butch Otter in a six-way primary but coming in second with 26 percent of the vote. Last year, he lost a GOP primary for the state Legislature in Idaho County, then announced he’d “given up on Idaho” and moved to Wyoming.

A jury convicted him on the elk poaching charge in June of 2011. His appeals challenged the jury instructions and rulings on evidence related to intent, but all were upheld. Representing himself in court, he also offered a novel argument to the Court of Appeals that the court lacked jurisdiction over him because it charged him as “Rex F. Rammell,” which he called “a false designation, his name being Rex Floyd Rammell.” That argument also was rejected.

Rammell convicted in poaching case

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — An eastern Idaho jury has convicted former gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell of illegally shooting and killing a cow elk. The Post Register reports that the jury of six people deliberated about an hour on Friday before finding Rammell guilty of misdemeanor unlawful possession of wildlife. Magistrate Judge Stephen Clark suspended Rammell's hunting license for two years and ordered him to serve 180 days in jail, with all but five days of the jail sentence suspended. Clark also ordered Rammell to pay a $250 process fee as well as $1,500 in fines, suspending $500 of the fines. Rammell says he didn't get a fair trial and will appeal. Because of the appeal, Rammell's jail sentence was stayed. Idaho officials say Rammell was in illegal possession of an elk on Dec. 8.

Latest episode in Rammell saga…

Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell's continuing saga got even wackier yesterday, when he called a press conference outside the Bonneville County Courthouse, saying he wanted to “discuss the Felony Jury Tampering charges he now faces, in addition to the Misdemeanor for illegally possessing wildlife.” His press release was headed, “Rex Rammell Felony Charge.” His event was interrupted as officers showed up, cuffed him and arrested him; Rammell said he had intended to turn himself in. “They're treating me like a criminal,” he says in video of the incident on KPVI-TV. “This is unnecessary - I'm a good citizen. … All I was doing was trying to inform the jury of their rights.” You can see the video here from KPVI, which includes a handcuffed Rammell trying to answer questions from the press as deputies try to load him into a squad car.

Here's Rammell's latest press release: “At 11 AM  I arrived at the Bonneville County Courthouse to hold a press conference.  County deputies were obviously waiting for me, because three of them were on me lack a pack of dogs on a rabbit.  They were very physical.  They forcefully handcuffed me and hurried me away from the Courthouse, despite my objections.  TV 6 and 8 filmed the entire episode.  I posted bond and am scheduled for a preliminary examination, July 6, 1:30.”

The felony charge in question is jury tampering, for handing out fliers to jurors who were about to hear the case against Rammell for poaching an elk in November.

Rammell poaching trial delayed for investigation into possible jury tampering

Here's the latest Rex Rammell news, via the Idaho Falls Post Register and the Associated Press: A state judge has delayed the poaching trial of former gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell to investigate if Rammell broke another law when he handed out leaflets to potential jurors in the case as they were entering the courthouse, offering them advice it said “judges may not tell you.” Really. Click below for the full report.

Rammell charged with poaching

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell has been charged with poaching an elk in eastern Idaho. Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett says the Idaho Falls man was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor possession of game that was unlawfully taken. Idaho Fish and Game said Rammell was in illegal possession of an elk on Dec. 8. When an officer asked Rammell for his hunting permit, he produced one for a different zone that expired in October. Rammell said previously he thought the tag enabled him to hunt in any area he chose to. Rammell ran in the Republican primary for Governor this year and two years ago as an Independent for the U.S. Senate. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 23.

Rex Rammell’s tale

After being caught last week dragging an illegally shot elk behind his snowmobile, former political candidate Rex Rammell has released an op-ed piece claiming he was misled by a sporting goods store that sold him an elk tag and that state Fish & Game wardens are “Nazis.” In his piece, he says he told the game warden, “You better get your gun out, because you’re going to have to shoot me if you want this elk.” He also opines, “The rules are ambiguous and I am not the only hunter confused by them and misinformed by Sportsman’s Warehouse.” Click below to read his full article.

Idaho F&G seeks taunting poacher

Idaho Fish & Game is seeking help to identify a poacher who’s been taunting the agency; here’s the AP’s report:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Fish and Game is seeking help in identifying the person who wrote to the agency bragging about recently poaching a deer. On Nov. 12, the agency received a letter from “Poacher X” that included photos of a buck the writer reported poaching in northern Idaho. “Poacher X” wrote of plans to illegally kill a pronghorn and a turkey in the state and promised to forward pictures of those kills as well. The letter had an Everett, Wash., postmark. Anyone with information may call Citizen’s Against Poaching at 1-800-632-5999, 24-hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.

Wolf poacher pleads guilty, sentenced

An Eagle man who admitted poaching a young wolf in 2009 has been sentenced to $1,064 in fines and costs; six months in jail with five months and 28 days suspended and the option for 40 hours of community service instead of jail; one year of unsupervised probation; and suspension of his hunting privileges for one year. Randy R. Strickland of Eagle shot the young female wolf Sept. 6, 2009 while standing in the road at the back of his pickup truck in a zone in Valley County that was closed to wolf hunting at the time; he then reported that he’d shot the wolf in a different zone that was open for wolf hunting. He initially pleaded innocent to misdemeanor charges of taking a game animal illegally and shooting from or across a public highway, but last month changed his plea to guilty. Click below to read the full announcement from Idaho Fish & Game.

Idaho man cited for poaching wolf pup

Idaho Fish & Game has issued two poaching citations to an Eagle man for illegally shooting a small female wolf pup on Sunday evening. The shooting was in the McCall-Weiser wolf zone, which is not yet open for wolf hunting. The man shot the wolf from a public road; witnesses told officers he shot it while standing in the road at the back of his pickup truck. He called the 24-hour wolf harvest reporting line on Tuesday morning and reported that he’d killed a wolf in the Sawtooth hunting zone, which is open for wolf hunting. But later in the day, when he checked in at the Fish & Game office in Nampa, he said he’d thought he was in the Sawtooth zone, but looked back at a map Sunday evening in camp and discovered he was actually in the McCall-Weiser zone.

Fish & Game officers seized the wolf hide and skull, a rifle, camera and tag; their investigation is ongoing. They issued two citations to the man: Shooting a wolf in a closed season, and shooting from a public road. Because Idaho’s wolf hunt has specific limits on the number of wolves that can be taken in each hunting zone, one will be deducted from the limit for the McCall-Weiser zone to account for the poached wolf.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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