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UT: Elk poachers slapped with fines, world hunting ban

October 7, 2010

Elk poachers slapped with fines, world hunting ban

SALT LAKE CITY - Two Duchesne County men have been ordered to pay a combined $40,000 in restitution for the poaching of two bull elk on Ute tribal lands.

Wesley D. Gardner of Neola and Micah R. Park of Hanna pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to one count each of taking wildlife in violation of tribal law, a misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act.

After accepting their pleas, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner sentenced the men to a combination of probation, community service and restitution.

Gardner was ordered to pay $15,000 to the federal Lacey Act Account and $12,000 to the Ute Indian Tribe Division of Fish and Wildlife. Park was ordered to pay $8,000 to the tribe's Division of Fish and Wildlife and $5,000 to the Lacey Act Account.

Both men must also perform 120 hours of community service with the tribe's Division Fish and Wildlife and serve three years on probation. They are also banned from hunting anywhere in the world for three years. Gardner and Park each shot an elk on tribal land in November 2009, according to court records. Wildlife officers have said one of the elk may have been a world-class trophy animal.

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