District Five Turkey Shoot

Panhandle Region
Brian Johnson

On October 22, 2017, SCO Brian Johnson received a tip from the Citizen’s Against Poaching hotline reporting that a man driving a red UTV on the District 5 road near Bonners Ferry, had shot and left to waste several wild turkeys.  Brian met the witnesses the following day and reviewed the scene. The witness showed which nearby farmhouse the red UTV had gone following the shooting.

Brian took photos of the scene and the wasted turkeys, and collected spent shell casings from a .223 rifle. After a visit to the Boundary County Sheriff’s office and a bit of time on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s license data base, Brian determined that the turkey shooter was probably a 16 year old male from the nearby farm.

The next day, Brian went to Bonners Ferry High School where he interviewed the 16 year old suspect. The young man admitted that he had been driving his family’s UTV down the county road when he spotted a flock of turkeys in the field. He opened fire from the vehicle with his .223 rifle even before coming to a stop, firing multiple rounds, killing several turkeys including one on the fly. He then drove home without retrieving any of the birds despite having a valid turkey tag.

Brian charged him with the wasteful destruction of game birds as well as hunting from a motorized vehicle. Brian also gave him warnings for shooting from a public road, failing to tag a turkey, and for using a rifle to hunt turkeys.  In December of 2017, the suspect plead guilty in Boundary County Magistrate Court and was ordered to pay $500 in fines and penalties. He also received a one year revocation of his hunting license and a year on probation.

With an average patrol area of over a thousand square miles, Idaho conservation officers cannot be everywhere at once, and cases which offer very little physical evidence often go unsolved. They absolutely rely on citizens who are willing to pick up the phone and make that call.    

Idaho is a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, which means that if an individual’s hunting, fishing or trapping license is revoked by any of the 42 member states; all the remaining states will revoke the same license or privilege for the same time period.

Anyone with information about a wildlife violation are encouraged to “Make the Call” and contact the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous, and they may be eligible for a reward.

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