Virginia hunters sentenced to probation and fined for illegally trafficking Nebraskan wildlife

(MGN)
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Two Virginia hunters were sentenced to probation and fined for illegally trafficking Nebraskan wildlife on Tuesday.

United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that 39-year-old Gregg Davis of Ruckersville, Virginia, and 44-year-old Chadwick Graham of Charlottesville, Virginia, were sentenced today in federal court in Omaha, Nebraska, for violating of the Lacey Act.

United States Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson sentenced each to one year probation for trafficking wildlife, a misdemeanor. Davis and Graham individually were ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $10,000 and restitution in the amount of $10,000. During their terms of probation, Davis and Graham will not be permitted to hunt, trap, assist or be present with anyone engaged in those activities.

A joint investigation conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Law Enforcement Division determined that in the winter of 2015, Davis traveled to Hidden Hills Outfitters, a commercial big game guiding and outfitting business located near Broken Bow, Nebraska, to conduct wildlife hunts. During the hunts, Davis unlawfully shot a white-tailed deer prior to the legal shooting hours with a .308 caliber rifle and ultimately killed the deer with a suppressed .17 caliber rifle.

Davis subsequently caused the trophy parts of the deer to be transported out of the state for taxidermy services and then ultimately to his Virginia residence. Davis paid Hidden Hills Outfitters at least $4,500 for the guided and outfitted hunts.

The investigation also determined that in the winter of 2015, Graham traveled to Hidden Hills Outfitters to conduct wildlife hunts. During the hunts, Graham unlawfully shot a white-tailed deer without a valid permit, while parked upon the roadway, during closed season hours, and with a prohibited suppressed .308 AR-style rifle.

Graham subsequently caused the trophy parts of the deer to be transported out of the state for taxidermy services. Graham also paid Hidden Hills Outfitters at least $4,500 for the guided and outfitted hunts.

From 2015 through at least 2016, Davis and Graham killed several additional white-tailed deer, mule deer, and turkeys using similarly unlawful methods and with the guidance and assistance of a Hidden Hills Outfitters guide.

Today’s convictions are part of the ongoing prosecution of numerous defendants related to violations committed by owners, guides, and clients of Hidden Hills Outfitters. To date, twenty-one defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced and ordered to pay a total of $141,700 in fines and restitution for underlying violations related to deer taken within baited areas; deer, pronghorn, and wild turkeys taken with weapons or firearms prohibited during their respective hunting seasons; deer taken during closed season hours, from the road, or without a valid permit; and mule deer taken within the Mule Deer Conservation Area.

The operation was a joint investigation conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Law Enforcement Division.