By KEITH KINNAIRD
SANDPOINT -- A Bonner County jury convicted a Priest Lake man
Thursday of setting bobcat traps out of season in the Beaver Creek
The jury of five women and one man found Vincent Del Aguirre guilty
of two counts of placing bobcat traps outside the three-month season,
rejecting his argument that the trap sets were for coyote and raccoon.
Judge Barbara Buchanan fined Aguirre $1,000, but suspended all but
$200. Two 10-day jail sentences were also suspended. Aguirre was placed
on probation for two years and his trapping privileges were suspended
for one year.
Aguirre, a 69-year-old from Nordman, was cited for placing traps on
Nov. 25, 2004 and March 28. The Panhandle bobcat season lasts from Dec.
14 to Feb. 16, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Delbert Wayne Jeppson, a trapper from Goose Creek, told jurors he was
alerted to the sets by somebody who thought they were his. Jeppson said
he checked the traps and suspected they were primed for bobcat because
of their location and the way they were baited.
Jeppeson testified he hasn't spotted raccoon or skunks at Beaver
Creek, but said he has seen bobcat in the area of the sets.
A Fish and Game officer testified that the flashers were placed in a
tree near the sets, which is a method of attracting bobcats.
Aguirre, who acted as his own legal counsel during the trial, called
two defense witnesses, one of whom testified raccoons are a problem at
Beaver Creek. The other witness, trapper Pete Ellsworth, told jurors its
not uncommon to snare raccoon, mink or coyote using bobcat sets.
Aguirre moved to dismiss the charges before trial on grounds the
prosecution failed to produce documents in a timely manner during the
discovery phase of the proceedings. He called the charges a waste of
time and taxpayer money.