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TN: Man's hunting/fishing license suspended 20 years

April 28, 2010

Man's hunting/fishing license suspended 20 years

DALTON - A Cleveland, Tenn., man charged last week by the state Department of Natural Resources with violation of fishing regulations in Murray County has had his hunting and fishing license suspended for 20 years in 34 states, officials said.

Kurt Wesley Ellis, 31, of 7249 Highway 60, was charged Thursday by the DNR with possession of illegally taken wildlife (misdemeanor), violation of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact/fishing license suspended (misdemeanor) and false statements (felony).

Cpl. Casey Jones with DNR said Ellis' hunting and fishing license was previously suspended by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) for "multiple violations over several years." Jones did not know what those violations were and a representative with TWRA couldn't immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

"That's the first time I have seen anyone that was suspended for 20 years," said Jones, who made the arrest. "Usually suspensions will be one to three years that I've seen throughout my career. First time that I have dealt with somebody that had that long of a time period so it had to be pretty egregious."

The TWRA suspended Ellis' hunting and fishing license. Since Georgia and Tennessee are among 34 states in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact that recognizes suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in member states, illegal activities in one state can affect a person's hunting or fishing privileges in all participating states.

Ellis bought a fishing license on April 7 under a false first name, Jones said. The false statements charge stems from Ellis signing his license knowing it wasn't under his name. Ellis, two other adults and three juveniles were fishing in the Holly Creek area. Jones said the DNR received a complaint about the group through a DNR poaching hotline. When Jones arrived and investigated, he found Ellis had caught three trout, which Jones confiscated.

Concerning people obtaining a hunting or fishing license under a false name, Jones said he "wouldn't say it's common, but we run into it." He said he sees that violation more with people in the country illegally because of the papers needed to get a license, including a driver's license and Social Security card.

"I can't say what his intent is, that's in his head," Jones said. "But he had been in a whole lot of trouble over the past several years and it looked to us like he was trying to avoid being detected or kind of showing up on our screen, which he did anyway.".

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