MT: 5 charged in illegal commercial hunting scam
January 20, 2010
5 charged in illegal commercial hunting scam
A Kentucky man has been sentenced for running an illegal commercial
hunting business that utilized public Block Management Areas between 2005
and 2007 in northeastern Montana.
Robert Nelsen, 60, of Bowling Green, Ky., was fined $5,555 and was
ordered to pay $1,050 in restitution after pleading guilty. He also had his
hunting, fishing and trapping privileges revoked for eight years. When he
was apprehended, Nelsen had more than 30 pheasants over his limit.
Four other men were also charged as a result of the investigation, some
of them associates and the others clients.
Records show the men hit the Block Management Areas 93 days in 2005, 122
days in 2006, and 21 days in 2007. The Block Management Program opens
private lands to public hunters. Landowners are paid by the Department of
Fish, Wildlife and Parks for allowing access.
"Unauthorized commercial ventures are not allowed on BMAs," said Mike
Herman, Region 6 warden captain, in a statement.
"We're seeing an increase in this type of commercial activity in the
northeastern corner of the state," Herman added. "For the sake of the
everyday hunter and the program, we're trying to control it. We don't want
Block Management Areas to become 'slip in and slip out' access points for an
unlimited number of commercial ventures."
Nelsen pleaded guilty in Montana 15th Judicial District Court to a felony
count of outfitting without a license. He also was convicted on the
misdemeanor charges in Roosevelt County Justice Court: wasting and
abandoning a game bird, discharging a firearm from a public roadway, three
counts of hunting game birds without permission, three counts of
accountability (for the conduct of clients), three counts of acting as an
outfitter without a license, and seven counts of killing and/or possessing
more than the legal limit of game birds.
Nelsen's associates and clients included William McCarley of Auburn, Ky.,
Perry Bond of Louisville, Ky., Chris Riopelle of Denver, Colo., and James
Booth of Davie, Fla.
McCarley was convicted on a misdemeanor count of violating Montana Fish,
Wildlife and Parks Commission regulations for illegally shooting a hen
pheasant and was fined $135.
Bond was convicted on a misdemeanor count of hunting during a closed
season for shooting a hen pheasant. He was fined $135 and was ordered to pay
$25 in restitution.
Riopelle and Booth each received deferred prosecutions with fines and
restitution attached to two misdemeanor counts of retaining the services on
an unlicensed outfitter. They each paid a $575 fine and $500 in restitution
and for a period of one year. .
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