HUNTING VIOLATIONS
from C.A.S.H. Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting

MT: Montana man found guilty for illegal outfitting in Blaine County

May 7, 2018

From GreatFallsTribune.com

In the most recent case of poaching in the Great Falls area, three deer were shot and killed and left northwest of town. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks turns to the public for help in cases like this.

Thomas "TJ" Carter, 38, of Twin Bridges, plead guilty to four charges, including a felony, in District Court in Blaine County. The counts include one felony count of acting as an outfitter without a license, one misdemeanor count of theft, one count of illegal tag transfer and one count of unlawful purchase of a replacement license.

In the fall of 2015, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 6 wardens began investigating reports of illegal outfitting happening in northern Blaine County, near Turner. It was learned that Carter, a licensed guide in Montana as well as other states, was operating as an unlicensed outfitter under the name "Western Wild Hunt Company."

Under Montana law, licensed guides may not act as outfitters. Also, Carter also hired additional unlicensed guides to assist with his hunting clients.

A total of 13 hunting clients were identified and interviewed, including residents of West Virginia, Texas, New York, Colorado, Ohio and Washington. Clients paid an average cost of between $5,000 to $5,500, primarily for mule deer hunts. Hunters were taken on Block Management Areas, Bureau of Land Management and on private land, and no special use permits were used on any of these sites.

“This case involved serious violations of laws under FWP jurisdiction,” said Dirk Paulsen, FWP Region 6 criminal investigator. “Mr. Carter’s actions exceeded those of someone who was confused about the red tape and regulations of the outfitting industry and were in direct conflict with the high standards and set practices implemented by the Board of Outfitters and the lawful outfitters of this state."

During the interviews, many clients expressed disappointment in the operation, including lodging, facilities, price and the overall size and quality of mule deer promised.

Carter was initially charged with 20 total counts in Blaine County, but in a pre-trial agreement, he agreed to plead guilty to four.

In April this year, Carter was sentenced by District Court Judge Yvonne Laird on the four counts, totaling five years loss of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges, and four additional years loss of hunting privileges (all loss of privileges are honored in all 46 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact).

Carter was also charged with paying a total of $12,000 in restitution and $2,000 in fines. In addition, Carter will be under the supervision of the Department of Corrections and is subject to all adult probation and parole rules and regulations.

Carter's unlicensed guides were cited for guiding without licenses in Blaine County Justice Court. One client was charged for his role in transferring a deer license.


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