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Idaho arrests two long-time elk poachers


Idaho Elk
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Thanks to a tip phoned into Idaho’s Citizens Against Poaching hotline, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) officers have apprehended two long-time elk poachers. Jonathan Blaschka and Charles McCall were charged with poaching elk during multiple seasons spanning September 2016 to September 2017. Both men will lose their hunting privileges, pay thousands of dollars in fines and restitution and serve time in jail, the Idaho State Journal reports.

According to the report, in 2016, Blaschka and McCall used rifles to shoot two bull elk during an archery-only season near Yellow Pine, Idaho even though both men had valid archery elk tags for the area. The following year, Blaschka again used a rifle to shoot a bull elk and a cow elk during the archery-only season.

“With an average patrol area of over a thousand square miles, Idaho conservation officers cannot be everywhere at once,” IDFG Conservation Officer Jon Hunter said in a statement. “We depend on ethical hunters to be our eyes and ears in the field and encourage them to report illegal wildlife activities.”

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Thanks to an anonymous tip, investigators were able to link Blaschka and McCall to the poaching incidents, which, according to the Idaho State Journal, resulted in the seizure of a firearm, cell phone, elk antlers and elk meat from Blaschka’s home. The cell phone held multiple bragging texts regarding the illegal elk kills.

According to the Idaho State Journal, Blaschka was charged with seven wildlife violations, including “two counts of poaching a bull elk, two counts of possession of an illegally-taken bull elk, poaching a cow elk, possessing an illegally-taken cow elk” and using another person’s elk tag. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $9,000 in fines, court costs, processing fees and restitution. He loses hunting privileges for four years and will be on probation for another two years.

His accomplice, McCall, lost hunting privileges for a year and was fined $1,380.

If you ever spot suspicious behavior or want to report a wildlife crime, contact IDFG’s tip line at 1-800-632-5999.


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Kevin L. - posted 1 year ago on 05-02-2018 12:41:33 pm

The point of a punishment for breaking a law should be enough to deter a rational person. Unfortunately a rational person can see that these punishments are very light especially when you consider what appears to be low odds of getting caught. I support lifetime hunting ban nationwide and longer jail time for those who showed knowledge and intent.

Erik S. - posted 1 year ago on 05-02-2018 11:54:27 am

I think the punishment here is perfect, well done Idaho.

Dustin F. - posted 1 year ago on 05-02-2018 09:04:11 am
Carmel Valley, CA

I'm glad they were caught. Disrupting the silent season with a rifle is disrespectful to self and community. Of course disrespect is not their motivation, their disregard reveals the prevailing-un-confidence in their hunting skill. Perhaps time constraints and the amount of work required to fill an archery tag informed their decisions to harvest out of season. A formal public apology would be a great addition to recompense as well as IDDFW required community hours. I see active community service with DFW as a more appropriate punishment than jail time. I would say this should be weighed appropriately in light of any formal job they hold. If they are jobless and un-involved community members, I think Jail is great place for them. These men can benefit from a more relationship/community related "punishment". What's lacking in their life is confidence in their skills and community. Although you see them sharing their harvest photo with their "friends" the community they need fellow men who have actualized empowerment and intelligence; who are not wavered by the persistent potential to experience failure. The law is a guide not the answer to the redeeming actions that make for a better society. As much as I want to go post a criticism on their photos, I am aware of the slippery slope of guilt and shame that such comments elicit. I pray that a fellow hunter in their community speak truth, confidence, and redemption in these men. I pray these men discover their underlying motivations and obtain empowerment through their process of declaring personal responsibility and redemption.

Here's their FB. Both Profiles have posts showing elk harvested last August & September:

Erik E. - posted 1 year ago on 05-01-2018 06:28:44 pm

Punishment does not fit the crime!!! They should lose their hunting privileges for ever in every state plus longer jail time!! Complete scumbags glad they were turned in!!

Brent D. - posted 1 year ago on 05-01-2018 12:11:19 pm
Parma, Idaho

It's ridiculous Gary, why they are so easy on these guys.

Gary H. - posted 1 year ago on 05-01-2018 12:17:37 pm

Why are these people allowed to hunt ever again? I just dont understand?! Pull poachers licenses indefinitely!! The time for this nonsense is over.

Brent D. - posted 1 year ago on 05-01-2018 10:56:58 am
Parma, Idaho

Still seems pretty lenient IMO. If this was a dog or cat people would be in an uproar. We need stiffer fines to deter people from even thinking about doing these things.