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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS

Game, Fish and Parks officer cited for hunt on private land

December 16, 2011

By Chris Mueller, Outdoors-411.com

A Tripp County Game, Fish and Parks conservation officer was cited for trespassing after he was found hunting on private land near Clearfield last month.

Matthew J. Hill, 24, of Winner, was discovered by a Tripp County Sheriff’s deputy while he was hunting on privately owned land near the unincorporated community of Clearfield, located southwest of Colome in Tripp County, on Nov. 15.

Hill was later fined, and has paid $73, plus $66 in court fees.

“I’m a human and I make mistakes, too,” he said in a telephone interview.
“It was totally unintentional.”

He declined to name the owner of the land he trespassed on, but said he apologized after he was cited.

“I wasn’t treated any differently than anyone else would have been,” Hill said. “I’m embarrassed that it happened.”

Emmett Keyser, GF&P assistant director of operations for the Division of Wildlife, said Hill informed his immediate supervisor immediately.

“We have a staff that frequently hunt and fish, and at times they find themselves in a situation other hunters and anglers find themselves in — they mistakenly get onto private land,” Keyser said.

Keyser said GF&P provided the state’s attorney who prosecuted the case with information just as it would with any other person under similar circumstances. “We want to make sure that our staff is just as accountable as we expect them to be,” he said.

Keyser refused to disclose if any further disciplinary action had been taken against Hill by GF&P, saying that information was confidential.

Hill remains at his post as Tripp County’s conservation officer.

Because the state’s attorney determined Hill’s violation to be unintentional, his hunting license was not revoked.

Keyser said more than eight GF&P employees have had similar violations in the past, and in every case the employees admitted their mistake and paid the penalty.

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