Turkey baiting in Clearwater does not pay

Clearwater Region
Turkey baiting in Clearwater Region
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In May 2014, retired Officer Stoddard told Officer Crawford of a possible baiting for turkeys in Cranberry Creek of Unit 10A. Officer Crawford determined a turkey had been killed, collected a shotgun wad and spent shell, and was able to identify suspects.

On March 30, 2015, Officer Crawford returned to the area and located two other sites recently baited with cracked corn. Each site was heavily used by turkeys, had ground blinds constructed with pine boughs and accessed by ATV. Over three weeks three individuals were observed baiting each site five times.

A turkey was killed on April 15, 2015 by an unknown individual. The individual then re-baited the site. Fortunately, officers were able to contact and identify each suspect at their camp.

On March 29, 2016 Officer Crawford returned to the area finding bait at each site. Eventually, four individuals were identified and observed placing bait six times.

On April 15, 2016 Officer Crawford and five officers waited at each site for the suspects to arrive for opening day.

At one site Officer Cummings and Officer Christopher contacted Carl Kelly and Granville Eckert both from Buhl. Each had harvested turkeys, failed to validate their tags, continued to hunt, and hunt over bait.

Officer McLain contacted Shawn Kelly of Lewiston asleep in a ground blind with a pile of corn in front of it. After a consent search, a bag of cracked corn was located and Kelly was charged with baiting.

Erik Kelly of Lewiston was contacted in camp and admitted to baiting and killing a turkey over bait. Kelly was charged with unlawful take and baiting.

Jim Martin of Elk River was charged with baiting for the past three years.

Five individuals were cited for baiting. Fines totaled $2900.00, each lost their hunting license for 1 year, and 30 days jail, all of which was suspended.

On May 17, 2017 in Clearwater County, two men plead guilty for their role in another turkey baiting case. Officer Crawford was again the investigator.

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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