Game Warden Chronicles: Idaho Woman Charged in Elk Poaching; Jersey Shore Angling Party is Costly

An Idaho woman has been charged in connection with the illegal killing of a trophy bull elk, one of several cases that make up this installment of the game warden chronicles.

Game Warden Chronicles: Idaho Woman Charged in Elk Poaching; Jersey Shore Angling Party is Costly

The 6×6 bull elk was considered a trophy animal under Utah law, which raises the wanton destruction of protected wildlife charge to a third-degree felony. The minimum restitution value for a trophy elk is $8,000. (Photo: Utah DNR)

Ever hear about a crazy arrest by game wardens and wonder why someone did what they did?

Game warden reports from state conservation departments always are a source for a few laughs and head-scratching moments. Take a look at some of these selections from around the country.

An Idaho woman was charged in Utah with multiple counts after being arrested in connection to the illegal killing of a trophy bull elk.

Crystal Alsbury, 35, of Rigby, Idaho, was charged in Summit County's 3rd District Court with wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a third-degree felony, and failure to wear hunter orange, a class B misdemeanor. She has a court appearance May 18.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers received a call on Jan. 31 about a possible poaching incident at the Henefer-Echo Wildlife Management Area in Summit County. A DWR officer responded and located Alsbury with three men. The group stated that Alsbury had a bull elk permit issued by the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and she had killed a bull elk in the area. The men helped her move the elk to the bottom of a nearby canyon so they could field dress the animal and prepare to haul it out of the area.

However, Alsbury's permit was only valid for hunting on unoccupied federal property, and the wildlife management area where the elk was killed is currently owned by the State of Utah. It has not been unoccupied federal land at any point in the determinable past.

None of the members of the group were wearing hunter orange, which is required by law for this type of elk hunt.

The 6×6 bull elk was considered a trophy animal under Utah law, which raises the wanton destruction of protected wildlife charge to a third-degree felony. The minimum restitution value for a trophy elk is $8,000, per Utah State Code.

If Alsbury is convicted and sentenced, conservation officers will also recommend a hunting license suspension.

More Cases in Utah

A Utah man faces charges in connection with the illegal killing of a 19-inch buck deer.

Jesse Davis, 36, of East Carbon, was charged in Carbon County's 7th District Court with wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a class A misdemeanor, on March 27. His initial court appearance is scheduled for June 15.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers received a call from a concerned citizen on Jan. 24 about a possible deer poaching in East Carbon. After further investigation, a DWR officer and an East Carbon Police Department deputy went to the home of an acquaintance of Davis and found the head of the deer in the homeowner's yard. Davis later arrived at the home and led the officers to the carcass of the buck deer, which was in a small ravine approximately 375 yards from the home.

During an interview, Davis told officers he had shot at the deer, trying to scare it away from eating his hay bale on a trailer, but claimed that he did not hit it. Evidence showed the deer had been shot on or around Jan. 17, which is not deer hunting season in Utah. While the DWR offers depredation permits to landowners so they can decrease wildlife damage to crops, Davis did not have a permit.

Multiple Charges for Deer Poaching

A Cedar City man was recently charged in connection with the illegal killing of a buck deer in 2018.

Michael Grant, 25, was charged in Iron County's 5th District Court with wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a class A misdemeanor; two counts of taking, transporting, selling or purchasing protected wildlife, a class B misdemeanor; carrying a loaded rifle, shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle in a vehicle, a class B misdemeanor; and driving with a suspended or revoked license or registration, a class C misdemeanor, on March 27. His initial court appearance is scheduled for June 9.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers received a tip about a poached deer at a house on Dec. 23, 2019. The tip led officers to Grant's house, where they discovered him driving with a loaded firearm in his vehicle.

Upon further investigation, they discovered the antlers of a buck deer, which officers later learned had been killed illegally in the Chloride Mountains, west of Cedar City, in November 2018, during deer breeding season.

In addition, investigators also discovered the heads of two trophy buck deer, which they determined had died two to three days prior. During interviews, Grant claimed he had found the dead animals and harvested their heads.

Conservation officers also discovered several snare traps that weren't legally registered. Grant led officers to additional snare traps that had been set up without a valid furbearer license.

Jersey Shore Angling Party Proves Costly

Two anglers enjoying the Jersey Shore nightlife found themselves in a hot tub of water after being busted for possession of 66 striped bass and other charges.

The Press of Atlantic City reported that game wardens with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife reported nabbing two men on March 30. The men were operating a small boat at night without lights, repeatedly moving from one fishing location to another. 

The men were not identified by the wardens. Each could face $12,800 in fines due to the undersized striped bass. Bag limits per person for the fish that day were one fish 28-43 inches and one fish of 43 inches or greater. 

They also were charged with vessel violations. Game wardens donated the striped bass to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

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