Convicted of poaching a mule deer buck this fall, a father/son duo from Kuna now face heavy fines and must serve jail time for their respective roles in the incident which occurred near Danskin Peak north of Mountain Home. A tip from hunters who witnessed the poaching incident brought the case to a successful conclusion.
Appearing before Magistrate Judge George Hicks on December 3, David Howell (53) of Kuna, and his son Adam (29) also from Kuna, were ordered to pay fines and civil penalties totaling more than $1,400. David Howell received a 10-year hunting license revocation, two years of probation and surrendered a Ruger M77 rifle used to commit the poaching crime. He also received 180 days in jail (165 suspended), and was ordered to serve five days in jail immediately. For the next two years, he will return to jail for the first five days of October to complete his jail sentence. It is no coincidence that early October signifies the beginning of Idaho's big game hunting season.
In addition to his fines and penalties, Adam Howell received a three-year hunting license revocation, 90 days in jail (88 suspended) and two years of probation.
On November 17th, two hunters participating in the Unit 39 archery-only season watched two men use a rifle to poach a mule deer, then load the animal in their vehicle. The hunters called Fish and Game staff, and Mountain Home conservation officer Greg Milner, together with Nampa conservation officer Brian Marek responded. Milner soon contacted the witnesses who showed him photos of the vehicle, the suspects with the deer and the vehicle license plate. The witnesses also confirmed that the suspects were still in the area.
A short time later, Milner contacted the suspects. "They knew they were caught red-handed, and neither one made much of an attempt to lie about the situation," Milner noted. The pair told Milner that they went out that morning intent on shooting a mule deer with a rifle, knowing full well that only the bow season was open. "This poaching incident was 100 percent intentional," Milner added.
This case demonstrates the importance of public involvement in the protection of Idaho's wildlife. "Simply stated, without critical, timely information provided by local citizens, this case might never have come to a successful conclusion," Milner commented.
Persons with information regarding a possible wildlife violation are encouraged to call the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.