By Angela Brandt
A Dillon couple accused of poaching deer, elk and fish admitted their guilt in district court Tuesday morning.
Charles “Bill” Foster and his wife, Sally, were set for a trial this month for an array of felony charges before opting to change their pleas to guilty.
He admitted to four felony counts of unlawful possession of game animals and felony tampering with evidence.
Charles Foster said he had animals that weren’t tagged or were over limit in addition to hunting without a license. He also admitted to removing and hiding a camera’s memory card. Charles Foster originally in 2012 told authorities he had flushed the card down the toilet because it contained nude photos of a neighbor. Once confiscated from inside a toilet paper roll in the Fosters’ bathroom, investigators found many depictions for people with killed dear and fish.
The tampering charge comes with potentially more prison time than the poaching counts.
In all, game wardens found the Fosters had 23 illegally harvested deer and elk since 2007 and are charged with other misdemeanors for deer poached before 2007. The Fosters also illegally possessed more than 65 game fish over the limit.
She pleaded guilty to two felony charges of unlawful possession of game animals and misdemeanor fishing without a license
The couple had pleaded not guilty to the bevy of charges in December. Prosecutors have filed a conditional motion to dismiss the remaining counts, including felony and misdemeanor poaching charges. The motion will be discussed at the sentencing hearing, which has yet to be slated.
For each of the counts of unlawful possession of games animals, the Fosters face up to five years in state prison and up to a $50,000 fine. They also could lose hunting and fishing rights for life.
On the tampering charge, he could sent up to 10 years in state prison and be fined up to $50,000.
Prosecutors filed charges against the Fosters following a year-long undercover investigation that lead to further digging into the past. Official found not only did the couple poach but allowed out-of-state visitors to shoot deer using their tags.
During the probe, he boasted to undercover agents about some of the poaching, telling one agent “this’ll get a guy in trouble” while showing a photo of approximately 15 rainbow trout on a counter top, court documents note. He also bragged about illegally killing a spike bull elk.