In the fall of 2015, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) began a lengthy investigation that resulted in charging eleven people with the illegal take of big game. In August, the first four were found convicted and sentenced for their involvement in poaching multiple bull elk and at least one mule deer. Tyler Dutton, Miranda Clausen, Roger Brutsman and Adam Norris were either found guilty or pleaded guilty for their crimes, according to IDFG.
Dutton was found guilty by a jury of “hunting while revoked, closed season take of a big game animal, illegal possession of a big game animal, wasteful destruction of a big game animal, and using another person’s big game tag,” IDFG reports. He will lose his hunting and fishing privileges for ten years and is not allowed to participate in any hunting or fishing activities within that timeframe. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, ten years of probation and ordered to pay more than $3,300 in fines and court costs.
Clausen, who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts: wasteful destruction of a big game animal and using another person’s big game tag, was ordered to serve 20 hours of community service and pay $1,645 in fines, restitution and court costs. She also loses her hunting and fishing privileges for six years and will “remain on probation for the next four years,” according to IDFG.
Brutsman and Norris accepted misdemeanor plea deals for their involvement in the poaching crimes. Brutsman pleaded guilty to poaching a 2x2 bull elk in exchange for a sentence of two years of probation and $1,465 in fines, restitution and court costs. Norris pleaded guilty to the illegal take of a 4x4 bull elk in exchange for a sentence of 90 hours of community service and $1,445 in fines, restitution and court costs. Both will also be on probation for the next two years; however, Norris loses his hunting and fishing privileges (and cannot participate in any sort of related activity) for five years while Brutsman only loses his for two.
In 2015, IDFG uncovered the remains of a bull elk in Unit 22, west of McCall, Idaho, before the legal start of hunting season. This discovery was only the beginning. By the end of the investigation, IDFG officers had also found “at least four more illegally-taken bull elk and at least one mule deer,” according to a press release. As IDFG pieced together the puzzle, they were able to link the crimes to those mentioned above plus others (Shannon Norris, Casey Dutton, Bob Norris, Trey Painter and Chad Painter) who were arraigned on 20 felony counts to unlawfully possess big game animals.
Charges and sentencing for others involved will be made public as the case continues.