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ND: Shining leads to loss of hunting privileges

Shining leads to loss of hunting privileges

May 30 2009

A St. Michael, N.D., man has been sentenced in state and tribal courts for shooting a deer while shining with an artificial light last October.

The incident also could lead to the return of a .30-30 rifle reported stolen more than 20 years ago in Devils Lake.

Jeffrey Whiteshield, 25, was sentenced Wednesday in Benson County (N.D.) district court for using artificial lights in taking big game. The court suspended his hunting privileges for three years and ordered him to pay $300 in court costs.

A $500 fine was suspended, and Judge Donovan Foughty placed Whiteshield on two years unsupervised probation, court records show. The court ruled that Whiteshield can pay off his court costs by performing community service.

Whiteshield earlier was sentenced in Spirit Lake Tribal Court and ordered to pay a $100 fine and $25 in court costs on the same charge. The tribal court also ordered Fanette Lovejoy, St. Michael, an accomplice, to pay the same amount in fines and court costs.

Lovejoy was driving the vehicle when the shining incident occurred, court records show. A third person in the vehicle wasn’t charged.

The charges resulted after Gene Masse, district game warden for the Game and Fish Department in New Rockford, N.D., observed a vehicle shining deer south of Oberon, N.D., near the boundary of the Spirit Lake reservation.

Masse was on night patrol when he spotted the vehicle Oct. 25, 2008, in an area where numerous shining complaints had been reported.

After watching the vehicle shine fields in two separate locations, Masse stopped the car and saw a large amount of blood on the rear bumper. Opening the trunk, the warden found a freshly killed fawn “lying in a pool of blood,” court records show.

Masse then contacted a tribal officer who came to the site. The officer, Mike Tollefson, had Lovejoy drive the vehicle to the police department in Fort Totten, N.D., for further questioning. Masse followed the group to Fort Totten.

According to court records, Whiteshield told the tribal officer he’d shot the deer on the reservation, but Masse the next day determined the kill site was about one-third mile off the reservation, court records show. Masse collected bloody rocks and debris from the site, and lab tests later confirmed a DNA match with the deer.

The court in Benson County ordered Whiteshield to pay $450 in restitution to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to cover the costs of the DNA testing.

Masse and the tribal officer also checked two rifles, a Savage Model 111 .30-06 and a Marlin .30-30, that were in the vehicle and found the Marlin was listed as stolen from Devils Lake about 21 years ago. Whiteshield told the officers he’d borrowed both rifles, court records show.

Whiteshield, who was a passenger in the front seat, used the .30-06 to shoot the deer. The stolen .30-30 hadn’t been fired.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs seized both weapons.

Using artificial lights to take big game is a Class A misdemeanor in North Dakota.

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