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Illegal Deer Kills

Old 04-06-2009, 08:52 AM
Fork Horn
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Default Illegal Deer Kills

Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources News Release

Game Trails LLC, McTavish fined $50,000 for illegal deer kills
April 3, 2009 Contact: Mark Marraccini
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1-800-858-1549, ext. 4425

Frankfort, Ky. – A Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources deer biologist who noticed discrepancies while analyzing 2006 hunter deer harvest data triggered an 18-month long state and federal law enforcement investigation that produced one of the largest wildlife penalties in state history last month in United States District Court, Owensboro.

Game Trails, a more than 12,000-acre Limited Liability Corporation commercial hunting preserve in Union and Crittenden counties, controlled by sole proprietor owner and then Thompson/Center Arms President and CEO Gregg Ritz, and its site manager, William Dirk McTavish, Jr., 43, of Paducah, paid $50,000 in fines after pleading guilty to numerous misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act of taking wildlife unlawfully, and for making false statements to Kentucky officers about the takings and interstate transporting of wildlife.
United States Magistrate Judge E. Robert Goebel ordered that Game Trails LLC, pay a $35,000 fine and McTavish pay a $15,000 fine.

Robert Christopher Helms, 40, of Boonville , Indiana , and a former Game Trails guide, faces up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a felony count of threatening a federal witness. His sentencing is scheduled for June 11.

Department wildlife and deer biologist David Yancy, in August 2007, noticed numerous inconsistencies while comparing and analyzing 2006 Telecheck deer harvest data with data that Game Trails LLC supplied to Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) in Georgia .

Yancy and department Private Lands Wildlife Biologist Phillip Sharp raised these irregularities with Union County conservation officer Lt. Greg Noel. Noel, already familiar with Game Trails and the property, enlisted the help of Crittenden County officer Randy Conway. They began the lengthy process of reconciling the Telechecked deer harvest reports of Game Trails clients with information from QDMA.

Their investigation turned up numerous instances of Game Trails employees, their friends and family chronically taking over-limits of deer, outside hunting season parameters, supplying false information to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and using social security numbers of Game Trails clients without their permission to Telecheck their deer harvests.

Noel and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent John Barham then discovered hundreds of deer jawbones and documentation tying them to Game Trails when they traveled to Atlanta, and served a federal search warrant at QDMA’s headquarters. By sending the jawbones to another state, Game Trails was guilty of transporting illegally taken deer out of state and triggered the Lacey Act violations.

Noel said that the property, bordered by about 4½ miles of Ohio River, was owned by Kimball International and leased to Ritz and sharecroppers. He said that the previous owner had used local draw hunting to manage the deer herd, but that Game Trails eliminated that practice because it interfered with its filming and big buck hunting routines. As a result, the herd grew quickly and Game Trails contacted QDMA to evaluate and make recommendations about improving the deer herd.

Game Trails then supplied QDMA with completed data sheets and jawbones of harvested deer. It was this data, discovered during Noel’s and Barham’s investigation, which conflicted with Telecheck data.

Noel says Game Trails has recently vacated the property and is moving its operations to Ohio. [/align]
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

wow what a bunch of bafoons! that makes everyone look at deerhunting just as another corrupt operation,its sad hunting has turned into an industry instead of a family pasttime,the sport already gets enough bad publicity
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:47 PM
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

I was talking to a guy last year that has hunted there over the last couple years and I heard it was being sold and that it going to get logged off. It sounded like gametrails was leaving there but din't really want too. Maybe this was the reason!
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:52 PM
Boone & Crockett
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

IF, I had intentions of running an illegal operation I guarantee there would not be a paper/jawbone trail.
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Old 04-06-2009, 07:27 PM
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

Well Timber they are criminals and criminals tend to get caught for doing some pretty stupid things.
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Old 04-07-2009, 04:41 AM
Fork Horn
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

Wondering about the ethics of all T/C "prosaffers" also who have hunted on that farm. a list of names is.....

Jim Shockey
Bill Jordan
Micheal Waddell
Larry Wheishuhn
Jim Wilson

What do you all think?

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:23 AM
Boone & Crockett
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

I doubt that the "TC Pro Staffers" knew anything about the illegal activities going on, and I also doubt the people at QDMA knew anything about the illegal activities. The article said it was Game Trail employees, friends and family members that were involved. People like Jordan, Shokey, etc have too many places they can hunt legally to get involved in knowlingly hunting with illegal means.
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

This makes hunters look bad, now the antis have another notch in their belt. I believe they all knew and now that it's out they are doing the school yard I didn't know or see anything. The question that puts this thought out there is, how can you film time after time, year after yearand not know somethings not right.
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:39 AM
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

This just goes to show that you can't believe everything you see on t.v.. Ritz, and all his cronies at Game Trails may be innocent but who knows for sure? I've watched a few shows with these guys in them and for awhile was impressed, but what goes on behind the scenes is often scripted and somtimes false IMO. The only way to truly enjoy the great outdoors is to actually get out there and get your hands dirty, sure beats watching a fairy tale on the tube. Hopefully it will all shake out at Game Trails but 'till then i'll be out every chance i get, besides it's turkey and morel season!!!...........don't get much better.
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Hurricane, WV
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Default RE: Illegal Deer Kills

The T.V. shows are so fake. I hunted Pike County, ILlast year. The outfitter that I went with is proudly supported by a prominent hunting show. I met the host of this hunting show & he really seemed like a very nice guy, but there was property for the customers (about 6,000 acres with 130" min.) & there was property about 30 minutes away on the Mississippi Riverforthe hunting show(about 1,500 acres with 150" min.). Before I chose this outfitter, I watched alot of videos & then compared prices. The video that I saw included many late season hunts on this outfitter's properties. It included 4-6 150"+ bucks walking around a field in mid- to late- December. The T.V. show host kept saying "hard to believe that so many of these monsters are out here late season." HAHAHA!!! Well, I guess they screwed me. I fell for it. I saw 2 borderline 120" bucks in a week out there & I got to hunt the property set aside for the customers paying $3,000+.
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