2 Juab County men sentenced for illegal trapping

2 Juab County men sentenced for illegal trapping

(Lynn Chamberlain/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

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SAN JUAN COUNTY — Two men have been sentenced in connection with illegally trapping bobcats, foxes and badgers in San Juan County, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources.

DWR conservation officers began investigating the illegal trapping activities of two Juab County men during the winter of 2014-2015. The men, identified as Taw Jackman and Clayton Sperry, were observed trapping in a remote area of San Juan County and investigators documented the illegal taking of bobcat, gray fox and badgers, DWR said.

Utah law requires trappers to check their traps every 48 hours, but the investigation showed that the men set dozens of traps and would not return to check them for as long as two weeks, DWR said.

"After several weeks, Jackman became worried that law enforcement was watching him and he abandoned his traps," DWR said.

Officers eventually obtained and served search warrants at the residences of Jackman and Sperry and seized bobcat, fox and badger pelts, along with dozens of unmarked traps, DWR said.

Jackman was charged in connection with 53 trapping violations, and Sperry was charged in connection with 34 trapping violations, including wanton destruction of wildlife. Both men reached plea agreements after they pleaded guilty to five counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife and three counts of unlawful taking of protected wildlife, DWR said. Both men face losing their trapping privileges for up to 24 years and received fines of more than $3,600.

"Each year, conservation officers spend thousands of hours monitoring compliance of Utah's hunting and fishing laws," DWR said. "They investigate violations in order to protect and preserve Utah's precious wildlife resources for the benefit of all."

Anyone with information about illegal killing of wildlife can call the DWR UTIP hotline at 1-800-662-3337 or email the information to toturninapoacher@utah.gov. Rewards are often available for information leading to the successful prosecution of wildlife crimes, and tipsters can remain anonymous.

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