SALT LAKE CITY — Five Utahns recently lost hunting privileges as part of their punishment for poaching and other wildlife-related violations, state wildlife officials said Wednesday.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources declined to give the names and ages of the individuals, but suspensions were handed down to men from all over the state stemming from incidents that happened last year. The rulings were determined during Utah Department of Natural Resources teleconference meetings in April and May.
“The entire purpose of wildlife law enforcement is to encourage people to comply with the laws. Those laws are made to benefit wildlife and the public," said DWR law enforcement investigator Doug Messerly in a statement. "I honestly wish that everyone would just comply with the law so that we didn’t have to do suspensions. That is our goal. But unfortunately, people do break the law, and we believe that appropriate license suspension is the best deterrent we have to those who would intentionally break the law.”
In all, the state agency reported there were 1,050 animals poached in 2019. The five cases that resulted in hunting suspensions during those meetings included some of those. In addition to fines, restitution, and even the possibility of jail time in Utah courts, the wildlife officials can suspend hunting privileges if a case is severe enough.
For example, a Pleasant Grove man who was convicted of attempted wanton destruction of protected wildlife was handed a 10-year hunting license suspension for illegally killing a trophy buck in the backyard of a Pleasant Grove home on Jan. 11, 2019. State conservation officers said the man received a photo of the deer from an acquaintance, then went to the backyard after it got dark and shot the deer. It happened out of the hunting season.
A Vernal man who was convicted of wanton destruction of protected wildlife received a 2½-year hunting license suspension in regards to a cow elk illegally killed in Duchesne County. Conservation officers received a tip on Jan. 16, 2019 and found that the man killed a cow elk and a calf at his family’s property, according to the division. The agency said the man tagged the cow elk with a 2018 permit and the calf with his child’s 2018 permit.
The other cases happened in the fall and winter of the year.
A Scipio man was convicted of assisting in the illegal killing of a deer near Scipio Cemetery in Millard County back in October 2019. Conservation officers were investigating the man’s relative when he told them they killed the deer legally with a landowner tag. After further investigation, the two later admitted to killing the deer near a cemetery, DWR officials said.
The Scipio man was also handed a five-year big game hunting suspension beginning on Jan. 9. The individual who killed the deer was previously handed a five-year big game hunting suspension that began on April 23.
A Highland man received a 4½-year hunting license suspension after he was convicted of wanton destruction of wildlife. Conservation officers said they were alerted of a trophy bull elk shot and killed in a spike-only unit; officials said he had a permit but it wasn’t for the location the elk was shot.
The final decision was handed down to a Sevier County man who forfeited bail on a charge of allowing protected wildlife to waste or spoil. The charge was in relation to a case at Redmond Lake on Dec. 31, 2019. A conservation officer found five ducks that were left to waste in a garbage can. Evidence led them to a man from Aurora, who said he shot the ducks and left them over the night without cleaning the ducks. He then discarded the dead ducks in a trash bin because he wasn’t comfortable using the meat that sat out overnight.
He was given a two-year suspension of small game and turkey hunting privileges.
Utah is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which means hunting privileges are also suspended among 48 other member states. Only Hawaii is not a member of the compact.