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Montana man charged with poaching multiple animals

Montana Elk

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Posting your illegal kills on Instagram and Facebook is a surefire way to get caught. When Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) game wardens received a tip last October that 22-year-old Brandon Schuhen had several decapitated bull elk that were most likely poached at his Montana home, they turned to social media to see what they could confirm. Unsurprisingly, after scrolling through Schuhen’s Instagram and Facebook pages, MFWP Game Warden Conner Langel discovered multiple posts “displaying two dead turkeys and three dead bull elk,” reports. The problem? Schuhen didn’t have valid turkey or elk licenses for 2017.

However, while investigators looked into the bull elk and turkey incidents, Schuhen continued to post to his social media accounts—only this time, he posted a photo of an antelope buck which he didn’t have legal permission to hunt. According to, when investigators went to Schuhen’s home to talk with him about the poached animals, he tried to flee the scene, “carrying three buck antelope skulls.” Investigators were able to stop Schuhen and read him his Miranda rights. Finally, after multiple conflicting stories, Schuhen admitted to illegally killing two turkeys, two antelope bucks, a 6x4 mule deer buck and three bull elk (5x6 bull, 6x6 bull with broken 7th tine and 6x6 bull with drop brow tine), leaving most of the animals as waste and taking the skulls, hides and some meat, reports.

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Schuhen walked investigators through each kill site and provided additional incriminating photos of his crimes. According to, officers seized skulls, meat and other evidence from Schuhen’s home. Schuhen was officially charged with five felony counts of unlawful possession, shipping, or transportation of trophy big game animal and, if convicted, could face up to 25 years in prison and could have to pay a $250,000 fine. He may also lose hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for his lifetime.

Does the punishment fit the crime?


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Aj M. - posted 11 months ago on 07-28-2018 03:54:32 am

This guy should never hunt again

Dave F. - posted 11 months ago on 07-24-2018 07:56:33 am

I always hate seeing that garbage of COULD FACE UP TO- They never get what they could face so why put that in? I hope he does not face a bleeding heart judge so gets what's coming to him! This amount of poaching should include a mandatory long prison sentence and all fines should mandatory to send a load clear message to all who do this to what will happen if they do this stupid stuff!

Todd B. - posted 11 months ago on 07-22-2018 07:17:56 pm

If he gets the max sentence; I'll say its proper punishment.

michael w. - posted 11 months ago on 07-18-2018 09:02:29 pm
Benton, AR

The max punishment needs to be dealt in this case. This is a serial poacher I believe and will do it again.

Matthew R. - posted 11 months ago on 07-18-2018 01:38:05 pm

Also.. I'm shocked this guy still has all the poached animals publically posted up on his fb account. Not exactly the way to show remorse for your crimes. "Dropped a prarie maggot today..." while posing with a trophy big game animal he just poached. Unreal...

Matthew R. - posted 11 months ago on 07-18-2018 01:23:40 pm

I'd say the "proposed" punishment does fit, especially considering that felony theft in Montana is the theft of property exceeding $1,500 in value and shall be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000 or be imprisoned in a state prison for a term not to exceed 10 years, or both. This is honestly one of the first cases I've seen that was appropriately charged, however I'll be waiting for the follow-up post where he only gets sentenced to 150 hours of community service, a $500 fine and 30 days in jail (which equates out to 10 actual days due to overcrowding and then is served over a couple long weekends). This is basically the your grounded this weekend with no allowance punishment.