posted on June 22, 2011 17:43
PIERRE, S.D. – What started as a posting on the social media website Facebook, turned into the investigation of a South Dakota hunting trip. The investigation focused on fraudulent purchase of resident big game hunting licenses by nonresidents and illegal possession of big game. The investigation led to the conviction of two Mississippi men for multiple hunting violations in South Dakota.
A Mississippi wildlife conservation officer provided information to conservation officers in South Dakota that suggested a group from Mississippi was planning a trip to Harding County in northwestern South Dakota and may be hunting illegally.
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department Conservation Officers Jim McCormick and Keith Mutschler opened an investigation which resulted in the seizure of ten illegally taken deer. In a cooperative effort between South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, several suspects and witnesses were interviewed in Mississippi in May of 2010.
As a result of the investigation, two individuals from Mississippi – Wilson Windham and Weston Windham – each pled guilty to five counts of unlawful possession of big game and one count each for violations of the Federal Lacy Act.
The total fines, costs and restitution assessed in a combination of state and federal charges amounted to $19,456. Each individual received 150 days jail (suspended), 360 days probation and three years hunting revocation. The hunting revocation is valid in the 36 states that are currently members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact including the Windham’s home state of Mississippi.