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Rocky mountain low: Tasmanian big-game hunters confined to Idaho on poaching charges

November 11, 2011

From SMH.com.au

Three Tasmanian big-game hunters have been charged with poaching offences after being arrested deep in the mountains of Idaho.

The men were bailed yesterday on a total $165,000 bond after spending five days in the Elmore County Jail, in the north-western US state.

The charges relate to the poaching of elk, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. But one of the men said on Facebook he was jailed because he shot a wolf that threatened his life.

Anton Kapeller, 58, and Darren Tubb, 43, of Blackwood Creek; and Samuel Henley, 18, of Cressy, are from hunting country in the foothills of Tasmania's central plateau.

Fish and Game officers arrested them last week near the village of Atlanta, deep in the wilderness of the Salmon River Mountains, part of the Rocky Mountains. The state operates a strictly regulated wildlife hunt, including a system of tags that lets individual hunters shoot small numbers of animals.

Mr Kapeller faced six charges, including possession of unlawfully taken elk and aiding or counselling the killing of elk during closed season, a Fish and Game statement said.

Mr Tubb was charged with three misdemeanors, including killing a bull elk in closed season, wasteful destruction of elk, and transfer of a tag. Mr Henley faced two charges: attempting to kill elk during closed season and use of a tag of another.

Elmore County's judge, David Epis, set the bond for Mr Kapeller, a real-estate agent, Mr Tubb, a security firm owner, and Mr Henley, an electrical apprentice, at $75,000, $50,000 and $40,000 respectively. Judge Epis also added special conditions to the case, requiring the three men, should they be bonded out of jail, to appear for a bond hearing and not leave Idaho.

An Elmore County Jail spokeswoman confirmed the three were released after posting their bonds.

Mr Henley protested his innocence on Facebook.

''To the people that have read the paper, yes I was put in jail in America for five nights because I shot a wolf without a tag. But what else are you ment [sic] to do when a wolf is about to kill you.

''I am out of jail now and talked to a lawyer and she said it is the stupidest case she has seen and that not to worry cause I had every right to kill it otherwise it would have killed me.''

Mr Henley, on his first overseas trip, had been in the US for a fortnight.
He reassured his friends: ''Yeah trip was good, unreal country up here. We should be home next week.''

A Fish and Game spokesman, Evin Oneale, said the investigation was continuing.

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