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MT: A dozen people convicted of illegal hunting

September 10, 2010

Two Montanans convicted of illegal hunting activities

A dozen people, including two Montanans, were convicted as part of a multi-year investigation of illegal hunting activities in rural Richland County.

The defendants were fined and ordered to pay restitution totaling $17,416, and were stripped of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in the 34 states involved in the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Criminal Investigator Lennie Buhmann and Savage-based FWP Warden Randy Hutzenbiler said the case revolved around Montana residents Paul D. Leinen, 60, and James A. Leinen, 66, both of Poplar. The men loaned their hunting licenses to nonresident family members and friends so they could illegally kill big game animals. The Leinens were each fined $370 and lost their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 10 years.

The 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.

The other defendants who were charged in Richland and Roosevelt county justice courts are:

Clete C. Leinen, 70, of Fairmount, N.D., who initially was charged with possession of an unlawfully killed white-tailed buck; loaning a license to another person; and purchasing resident hunting and fishing licenses as a nonresident. As part of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to the residency charges, was fined $846 and lost his privileges to hunt, fish and trap for 10 years.

Michael L. Leinen, 65, of West Bend, Wis., who used another person's license and killed a white-tailed buck, was assessed a $1,270 bond forfeiture and restitution, and lost hunting privileges for two years.

Ron M. Leinen Jr., 40, was convicted of two counts of using another person's license and possession of an unlawfully killed antelope. He forfeited a $1,005 bond and lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years.

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

Scott Morenzien, 32, of Fond du Lac, Wis., possessed an unlawfully killed mule deer buck. His total bond forfeited and restitution was $1,035. He also lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years.

Larry Morenzien, 51, of Kewaskum, Wis., possessed an unlawfully killed white-tailed buck and mule deer buck. He was ordered to pay restitution and bond of $2,070, and lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years.

Dennis G. Wittkopf, 67, and Scott D. Wittkopf, 32, both of Fond du Lac, each possessed two unlawfully killed white-tailed bucks and each paid $2,070 in forfeited bond and restitution. Dennis Wittkopf lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years. Tammy Wittkopf, also of Fond du Lac, possessed a single unlawfully killed white-tailed buck. She paid $1,035 in forfeited bond and restitution. The Wittkopfs each lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for 10 years.

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