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HI: Maui rancher pleads guilty to guiding unlicensed hunter; not charged with transporting animals

August 23, 2012

By Audrey McAvoy, TheRepublic.com

HONOLULU A Maui hunting ranch owner on Thursday pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor for taking an unlicensed hunter to shoot game animals in a case stemming from a broader investigation into the interisland smuggling of harmful invasive species for hunting.
 
Jeffrey Grundhauser faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 1 at U.S District Court.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song told a judge that Grundhauser took an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent hunting in June 2011 even though the agent said he didn't have a Hawaiihunting license.
 
The agent, who was posing as a hunter from Oregon, killed two axis deer and one mouflon sheep. He paid $1,250 for Grundhauser's guide services.
 
The ranch owner's attorney, David Hayakawa, noted his client wasn't charged for flying the animals between islands by helicopter, which is the aspect of the case that has gotten the most media attention.
 
On Monday, a Maui helicopter pilot who flew animals for Grundhauser pleaded guilty to loading deer on helicopters and flying them from Maui to the Big Island.
 
Song said Thomas Leroy Hauptman flew four axis deer from Maui. He brought about a dozen mouflon sheep with him to Maui from the Big Island.
 
Hauptman also could be sentenced to up to a year in prison. His defense suggested he receive probation and perform community service by flying 500 hours in his helicopter working for the group fighting to eradicate axis deer from the Big Island. He's scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 18.

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