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Idaho Poacher Banned For Life

September 26, 2008.

From Idaho Fish and Game:

Poaching deer has cost a Pocatello man his hunting and fishing privileges for life, a month and a half in jail, and more than $21,000 in fines.

In the fall of 2007, Russell D. Mee, 53, killed at least three deer in Arbon Valley and dumped two deer near his property when he suspected he was being investigated by Idaho Fish and Game.

Charges were filed by the Power County prosecuting attorney in American Falls. And on September 11, District Court Judge Peter McDermott sentenced Mee in connection with the illegal killing and wasting of deer.

"Our state wildlife forensic laboratory, headed by Dr. Karen Rudolph, was critical in this case, because it was able to show through DNA analysis that the only person who could have committed this crime was Russell Mee," Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer Scott Wright said. "Mee was in no hurry to confess to anything, and without this evidence he would have probably gotten away with it."

McDermott told Mee in court that the facts in this case showed that he was a poacher, and his days in the mountains were over. He sentenced Mee to 10 years in state prison, suspended barring any violation of his probation.

During the 10 years probation, Mee may not accompany anyone engaged in hunting, fishing or trapping, and he may not have in his possession any wild animal or wild animal parts. Any violation of this probation will result in Mee being ordered to serve his 10-year prison sentence.

In addition, Mee was ordered to pay $21,450 in fines and restitution to the state, the majority of which will go to pay for the cost of the DNA testing. Mee's hunting, fishing and trapping privileges were suspended for life, and he was sentenced to 45 days in the Power County jail.

"I think this sentence sends a message to would-be poachers; if you choose to steal animals from the people of the state of Idaho and are caught, it could have a significant negative impact on the rest of your life," Wright said.

This case was possible only because a concerned citizen with information about the crime became involved and called Idaho Fish and Game. Citizens Against Poaching paid this confidential informant a cash reward.

Anyone with information on any wildlife crime is encouraged to call CAP at 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.

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