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Bribe Offer Fails

A poacher's offer of half an elk did little to dissuade two hunters from turning in the culprit. The poacher, Robert Dechanne of Boise, was recently sentenced to the maximum penalty by Boise County Magistrate Patricia Young. On October 5, just 10 days before the area's elk season opener, two deer hunters in the Idaho City area heard a rifle shot and went to investigate. They found Dechanne field dressing a six-point bull elk. Rather than accept the poacher's offer of half the elk meat if they said nothing, the pair immediately left the area, recorded Dechanne's license plate number and flagged down Boise County Sheriff's Deputy Gina Turner. The deputy relayed information to Fish and Game Conservation Officer Marshall Haynes, who stopped Dechanne a short time later. When confronted with the eyewitness account, Dechanne admitted to poaching the bull elk and accompanied Haynes back to the kill site. Even though the trophy bull's antlers measured 314 7/8, the case did not meet the requirements for prosecution under Idaho's "flagrant violator" law. "Unfortunately, this case does not fall under the legal definition for a flagrant violation because there was an elk season open in other parts of the state," Boise County Prosecutor Theresa Gardunia said. Appearing in Boise County court, Judge Young gave Dechanne a $1,000 fine, $750 in civil penalty, and ordered him to pay court costs and fees. In addition, Dechanne lost his hunting privileges for three years and he was ordered to spend 30 days of his 180-day jail term behind bars. The other 150 days was suspended. This case illustrates the critical role of hunters in the apprehension of poachers. "Honest sportsmen were crucial witnesses in this case and we depend upon them to be our eyes and ears while in the field," Haynes said. Persons with information on wildlife violations are encouraged to contact their local conservation officer or sheriff's office. They can also call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 800-632-5999. Callers can remain anonymous even if a cash reward is paid.