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MT: Area hunters punished for Montana violations

September 10, 2010

Area hunters punished for Montana violations

GLASGOW, Mont. - Hunters from Fond du Lac County have been convicted as part of a multi-year investigation of illegal hunting activities in Montana.

The total amount of fines, bond and restitution collected in the case was $17,416. The 12 defendants also lost a total of 63 years of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in the 34 states involved in the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, according to a Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) press release.

The investigation was conducted by FWP Criminal Investigator Lennie Buhmann and Savage, Mont.-based FWP Warden Randy Hutzenbiler.

The case revolved around Paul D. Leinen, 60, and James A. Leinen, 66, both of Montana. The duo were loaning hunting licenses to non-resident family members and friends so they could illegally kill big game animals.

The Leinens were charged with loaning a license to another person and failing to properly validate a license. They were each fined $370 and lost their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 10 years.

The two-year investigation, which also involved the North Dakota Department of Game and Fish and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, led to a search warrant being issued on vehicles and a private residence along the Missouri River in Richland County.

Other defendants and their criminal case dispositions in Richland County and Roosevelt County Justice Courts include:

-Scott Vercauteren, 37, and Lanna Vercauteren, 36, both of Campbellsport. Lanna Vercauteren loaned a license to another person and forfeited $235 bond. Scott Vercauteren killed three mule deer bucks, a turkey and an antelope without licenses, used other people's licenses and failed to properly validate a license. The bond forfeited and restitution totaled $5,040. Scott Vercauteren lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for three years.

- Scott Morenzien, 32, of Fond du Lac, possessed an unlawfully killed mule deer buck. He was ordered to pay $1,035 and lost hunting privileges for two years.

- Dennis G. Wittkopf, 67, and Scott D. Wittkopf, 32, both of Fond du Lac, possessed two unlawfully killed white-tailed bucks and each paid $2,070. Dennis Wittkopf lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years.

- Tammy Wittkopf, also of Fond du Lac, possessed an unlawfully killed white-tailed buck. She paid $1,035. Tammy and Scott Wittkopf each lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for 10 years.

- Larry Morenzien, 51, of Kewaskum, possessed an unlawfully killed white-tailed buck and mule deer buck. He paid $2,070 and lost hunting privileges for two years.

- Michael L. Leinen, 65, and Ron M. Leinen Jr., 40, both of West Bend, were convicted. Michael Leinen used another person's license and killed a white-tailed buck without a license. He was assessed $1,270 in bond forfeiture and restitution.

- Ron M. Leinen Jr. used another person's license on two occasions and possessed an unlawfully killed antelope. He forfeited a $1,005 bond. Both men lost hunting privileges for two years.

- Clete C. Leinen, 70, of Fairmount, N.D., reached a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to residency charges. He was fined $846 and lost his hunting privileges for 10 years.

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