On November 7, 2003 Idaho Fish and Game Officers received a tip that a Montana hunter killed a bull elk in Big Game Unit 30-A in Idaho.
Idaho Conservation Officers investigated the tip the following day and found what appeared to be the remains of an elk located in the same area for which information had been received the previous day. Evidence was collected from the scene and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were contacted to assist with the investigation.
An intensive investigation led officers from these three agencies to Daniel J. Strizic, from Butte, Montana. Following an interview with Strizic, officers from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks seized his elk and Idaho officers charged him with the following offenses: (1) hunting without a valid license, (2) hunting without a valid tag, and (3) the possession and/or transportation of game taken unlawfully.
Strizic was scheduled for a pre-trial conference in Salmon on January 27, 2004, but he failed to appear. A warrant for his arrest was issued with a bond set in the amount of $15,000. On April 28, 2004, a plea agreement was reached with Strizic in which he agreed to plead guilty to the following charges; possession and/or transportation of game taken unlawfully and hunting without a valid tag. Strizic's guilty plea was entered and he was order to appear on May 4, 2004 before the Honorable Jerry R. Meyers, Lemhi County Magistrate for sentencing.
Once again, Strizic did not appear for sentencing. Another warrant for his arrest was issued with the bond increased to the amount of $30,000. Since this time, Strizic has been entered into the Violator Compact, an agreement in which the 19 participating states may revoke his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges. Neighboring states that participate in the Violator Compact include Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. Strizic's privileges will not be reinstated in any of these states or the other participating states until the matter with Idaho is settled.
While the illegal take of one bull elk may seem unimportant, it is significant to the other hunters who might have had the opportunity to have legally harvested that animal. Unit 30-A is a small area, but good habitat and a small number of controlled hunt tags have made the unit a prime spot for hunters seeking trophy elk. Strizic effectively stole that elk from every hunter who was fortunate enough to have drawn a controlled hunt tag for that unit.
Unfortunately, Strizic is not alone. Salmon Region Conservation Officers think quite a few trophy elk are illegally harvested by hunters coming into Idaho from Montana late in the hunting season as the elk herd moves into this area for the winter. Their counterparts with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have the same opinion regarding their side of the Continental Divide. But thanks to a tip from a concerned sportsman, this case was solved. If you think you have observed illegal hunting activity, please contact the Citizen's Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999. You can make a difference!