On Saturday, December 20, 2014, Terry Jones of Cottonwood, and Brett "Bubba" Kuhn of Grangeville grabbed their rifles and went hunting on the South Fork of the Clearwater. It was the last day of an archery-only elk and deer hunt in Unit 15. During the drive in, Kuhn shot at and missed a deer. At about 9:00 am the men saw some elk in the lower end of Earthquake Basin and Kuhn shot and killed one.
Those few shots were heard by some very concerned archery hunters about a mile away in Earthquake Basin. One archer hunted his way to the area hoping to get a chance at an elk. About an hour after the shots were fired, the archer saw two men come to the area and they left the same way. The archer then worked his way through the basin to where he heard the shots that morning and at 3:00 pm, saw 3 men, one with a bow and the other two with pack-frames.
The archer decided to contact them. The men were nervous and very evasive as to why they were wearing pack-frames, and why they were coming to the hunting area that late on the last day of the archery season. The archer then realized he had cell service and called the CAP line as soon as he was clear of the men.
Officers Roy Kinner and George Fischer went to the area immediately and contacted 3 men coming off the hill in the rain at about 6:30 pm that evening. The men had no meat, no rifle, no indication they had killed anything. However, one man did have blood on his pants, which he said came from his elk he was processing that morning. During questioning the men denied killing anything and were allowed to leave.
On Monday, December 22, Biologist Jim White notified Officers Fischer and Kinner that a collared elk from the same area might be dead as the collar started sending a mortality signal on Saturday. Officers Kinner, Fischer, and Roll returned to the location and found the collared elk, left to rot with a bullet in the shoulder. Evidence was collected and interviews conducted, ultimately ending in confessions from the three men.
Terry Jones was cited for killing big game with a rifle during an archery-only season and obstruction and delay. Bubba Kuhn was charged with killing big game with a rifle during an archery-only season and wasteful destruction of wildlife. The third man, Roger Davis of Stites, received written warnings for attempting to assist with the elk recovery.
Total fines and penalties for Jones were $3462, 30 days in jail, 20 suspended, and license revoked for 8 years. Total fines and penalties for Kuhn were $4662, 30 days in jail, suspended 20 days, and license revoked for 10 years.