IDAHO FALLS – What started out as a deer spotlighting case eventually resulted in exposing a poaching spree that lasted for three months and was responsible for the illegal killing of at least 8 deer, one elk, and a moose back in 2011.
The sentencing in the poaching case ended on Nov. 14 where District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. sentenced Adam Harris,33, of Archer, and Brandon Harris, 35, of Ririe, to jail time and combined fines over $100,000 with lifetime license revocations.
The entire case began in October, 2011 when Madison County Sheriff’s deputies observed a vehicle spotlighting on the fields above Cress Creek Trail. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle and after a short chase the vehicle became stuck in the snow. The suspects fled on foot.
Conservation officers from Idaho Fish and Game, with assistance from Idaho Bureau of Probation and Parole and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office began investigating.
Fish and Game officials said this was an especially egregious case of poaching, because the animals were killed at a time of the year when they are very vulnerable and concentrated on the winter range.
The investigation showed that several more animals were wounded and never recovered.
Judge Watkins sentenced Adam Harris to an underlying prison term of two to five years. His term is to run concurrently with a previous prison sentence that Harris is already serving.
Watkins also ordered Harris to pay a $500 fine for each count, a reimbursable damage assessment of $14,680 and a lifetime revocation of hunting privileges.
Adam Harris pleaded guilty to two felonies: unlawfully killing or possessing a cow moose; and unlawfully killing or possessing a spike elk and at least five deer.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, a third count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person was dismissed by prosecutors.
Brandon C. Harris, 35, pleaded guilty to two felonies: unlawful killing or possessing a cow moose; and unlawfully killing or possessing a spike elk and at least eight deer.
Judge Watkins sentenced Brandon Harris to an underlying sentence of two to five years. Brandon Harris was credited for his time served and allowed to continue his release from prison on parole. Watkins also ordered Brandon Harris to pay $200 in fines for each count, a reimbursable damage assessment of $104,250 dollars, and a lifetime revocation of hunting privileges.
At the time of the incident, Adam Harris was on parole and fled the state. He was arrested in Michigan and extradited back to Idaho to face the charges nearly two years later.