Men Charged with Killing Deer and Elk During Multi-Year Poaching Spree

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Two Montana men are facing a slew of felony and misdemeanor charges for poaching violations that range from wanton waste of game meat to shooting deer and elk from roadways at night with the use artificial light. According to Montana, Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), the charges stem from an extensive investigation that started with a tip about illegal hunting activity in the north-central part of the Treasure State.

“The charges involved the take or attempt to take nine antlered deer and four bull elk, some of which qualify for trophy restitution,” reads an FWP press release issued on Jan. 26. “Charges included violations of hunting during a closed season, hunting without a license, waste of game, over limits, the use of artificial light, and the unlawful possession of game animals.”

Michael J. Dess , a 20-year-old from Havre, Montana, racked up 35 misdemeanors and three felonies in the case in both Hill and Blaine Counties. 22-year-old Lane T. Allen of Harlem, Montana is facing 19 misdemeanors and two felonies. Allen’s charges were filed in Hill and Blaine County as well.

In its press release, FWP thanked both hunters and landowners for providing information used to solve the case. The first of those tips came from the Bears Paw Mountains, an island range in central Montana approximately 10 miles south of Havre. The area is known for great deer and elk hunting, much of which is done on private land with hired outfitters. A photo released by FWP shows three sizable elk, one particularly large whitetail, and a handful other bucks hanging from a barn above a seized rifle.

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Both Allen and Dess entered into plea agreements earlier this month that carry thousands in fines. Because the deer and elk they targeted were so large, their overall fines we increased to include trophy restitution. Hill will have to pay a whopping total of $16,010 in fines, while Dess’ totaled out at $8,210. Both men are barred from hunting, fishing, and trapping in Montana and any other state that participates in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, for the next 10 years.



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