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Poacher Nabbed in Cooperative Effort

It took legwork by conservation officers in two states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to track down and convict Randie "Buck" Cowdin of Brigham City, Utah for multiple wildlife violations in Idaho and Utah.

Cowdin pleaded guilty to numerous violations and faces fines totaling $15,692 with $4,200 suspended, 1,260 days in jail with 1,110 suspended, 60 days home detention, five years probation, five years no hunting or fishing in the United States, 15 years of no hunting or fishing in Idaho, and 30 days jail time in Oneida County Jail for violating his probation.

"We received information that Cowdin killed several large bull elk and mule deer north of Soda Springs," said Larry Hlavaty, senior conservation officer in Soda Springs. "Further information indicated he killed two large mule deer bucks found with their antlers locked together near the Black Pine area."

During the same time period, the Utah Division of Wildlife received tips that Cowdin was involved in the illegal killing and transportation of one or two six point elk from the massive Deseret Ranch in Utah.

Working together, Hlavaty, a Utah state conservation officer and a federal agent interviewed people familiar with Cowdin's activities in both states. The further the investigation went, the more solid evidence was produced. "Our charges on Cowdin were well documented with extensive background information," Hlavaty said.

Cowdin pleaded guilty to Idaho charges including the following: hunting with suspended license, taking bull elk during a closed season, hunting without a license, hunting without elk tags, and hunting without an archery permit.

In Utah, investigations centered around the killing of two bull elk on the Deseret Land and Livestock property. Cowdin pleaded guilty to killing a six point bull elk, as charged under Utah's wanton destruction of protected wildlife statute.

Cowdin pleaded guilty to three federal charges of violating the Lacey Act through interstate transportation of illegally taken deer and elk killed in Idaho and transported to Utah.

Legal actions took place in four jurisdictions, two state courts, U. S. Federal Court and Oneida County court at the end of 2000.

The investigation required two years and was conducted by Steve Magone, U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent, Jim Gregory, Utah Division of Wildlife conservation officer and Larry Hlavaty, senior conservation officer of Idaho Fish and Game.

"This was a blatant violation of wildlife laws and he continued hunting even after being suspended from hunting for purchasing Idaho licenses while living in Utah," Hlavaty added. "This type of blatant killing also reflects badly on the sport of hunting, especially in the eyes of anti-hunters."