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MT: 'Serial wildlife killer' draws jail sentence, lifetime hunting ban

'Serial wildlife killer' draws jail sentence, lifetime hunting ban

1:52 PM, May 26, 2009

There are poachers of wildlife -- which, sadly, are appearing too frequently in this blog -- and then there are people whose reprehensible actions transcend the term.

A spokesman for Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks put it best when describing Steve Slavinsky of Manhattan as a "serial wildlife killer," based on the extent of his illegal hunting and trapping throughout Montana. Fortunately for that state's critters and law-abiding hunters everywhere, Slavinsky is going to jail and can never legally hunt again.

According to a story in today's Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Judge John Brown told Slavinsky at a sentencing hearing last week in Gallatin County District Court: "Your conduct tarnishes" every hunter's reputation and, "You showed a blatant disregard for the laws of this state."

The long list of violations, unearthed after an eight-year FWP investigation, include hunting out of season, hunting and trapping on private land without permission, night-hunting with a spotlight, shooting from roads, taking only heads while leaving carcasses to rot and illegally guiding. With an undercover investigator, Slavinsky shot at otters and persuaded the investigator to shoot an elk on federal land.

Brown issued a sentence of five years with the Montana Department of Corrections and a suspended sentence of 15 years in the Montana State Prison. Slavinsky also is barred from hunting or fishing anywhere in the world -- or wherever cooperative agreements are in place -- for the rest of his life.

Chad Murphy, a state wildlife department investigator, told the Chronicle: "He's been stealing Montana's wildlife resources from everybody for years. That's why we asked for a lifetime suspension. He's not just stealing from hunters, he's stealing from everybody."

-- Pete Thomas

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