Dozens Busted in Hunting Sting
Updated: 6:32 PM Nov 10, 2005
Richland Center: A DNR investigation has resulted in charges against
46 people in 11 states for illegally hunting deer and turkeys.
The alleged ringleader of the group is an outfitter from Richland
County. 27 shoulder mounted trophy bucks were on display Thursday, along
with confiscated guns, bows, and turkeys.
"When I look at the evidence in this investigation I find it
disturbing that these majestic animals were taken for the mere sake of
greed and ego," says Nick Chavez with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the deer and
turkeys were shot illegally over the last few years. The hunters came
from all over the country to southern Richland County.
According to court documents 27 year old Adam Lawinger is part owner
and operator of Blue River Outfitters. "The documents allege that Mr.
Lawinger sold guided deer and turkey hunts to individuals from Wisconsin
and 10 other states," says DNR Chief Warden Randy Stark.
Lawinger allegedly charged the men between $1-2,000 to take them on
guided hunts, often outside the normal hunting season and without a
"The charges range from hunting with an improper license, possession
of untagged turkeys, possession of illegal deer, hunting deer without a
license and a plethora of other charges," says Iowa County District
Attorney Erik Peterson.
Besides his property in Richland County, Lawinger is accused of
taking hunting trips on leased property in Iowa County. Lawinger himself
is charged in federal court.
"Charges are filed in both state and federal courts against 46 people
in 11 states," says Stark.
The investigation began two years ago with tip calls. Later
undercover agents participated in illegal hunts with Lawinger, and
eventually state and federal agents interviewed the hunters, all of whom
pointed to Lawinger.
Throughout the court documents there is mention of an unindicted
co-conspirator, someone who co-owned the lands and helped run the guide
service with Lawinger. Officials would not comment on who this person
was or why they haven't been charged.
Lawinger was unavailable for comment.