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MT: Two plead guilty to hunting violations

May 7, 2010

Two Arizona men accused of illegally hunting big game on the Crow Reservation admitted federal misdemeanors on Friday.

The men hunted with tribal members who said they take care of the permits.

Appearing by video from Phoenix, Ariz., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby, Larry Mackay, 64, and Don Aime, 68, pleaded guilty to hunting without a license during the fall of 2006.

Ostby followed plea agreements and sentenced each defendant to one year probation and fined each $4,000.

The men also lost their hunting and fishing privileges while on probation. Ostby also ordered Mackay to forfeit a trophy bison mount.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr said the hunts began in 2002, when Elroy Nomee, an American Indian minister on the Crow Reservation, invited Mackay and Aime to hunt. The Arizona men are associated with a ministry that developed an affiliation with Nomee, he said.

Nomee and other tribal members gave Mackay and Aime assurances that licenses and permission would be taken care of, Fehr said. Each year, the men hunted deer, elk, buffalo and antelope.

No game was taken in 2002, but, in 2003, Aime shot a mule deer and the party took several other deer. The meat was donated to tribal charities.

In 2004, the Crow Tribal chairman gave a letter to the Arizona men allowing them to kill and take two bison. Carl Venne, now deceased, was chairman at that time.

Tribal employees accompanied the men on a hunt in which both men killed a bison, Fehr said. Aime killed another buffalo in 2005, but Mackay did not hunt that year.

Both men returned in 2006, and their party, including Nomee and several tribal members, killed several mule deer, Fehr said.

At no time did Mackay or Aime have a valid license from either the state or tribe to hunt big game, Fehr said.

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