Saveelk Founder Accused Of … Poaching An Elk

This is one of those cases that, frankly, I don’t want to touch with a 20-foot pole, but reports out of South-central Idaho indicate that an outspoken pro-elk/anti-wolf activist not only faces a felony charge of poaching a trophy elk in September 2009 but could lose his hunting privileges for life.

Reports the Idaho Mountain Express:

Anthony J. Mayer, 59, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in Blaine County 5th District Court in September with “flagrant unlawful killing and possession of a trophy bull elk.” He is also charged with the misdemeanor crimes of hunting without an elk tag, hunting without an archery permit and unlawful possession of protected wildlife.

Mayer, who cofounded the graphic Web site saveelk.com along with his brother Dr. Rick Mayer, entered a plea of not guilty, the paper reports. His lawyer vows to fight the charges in a jury trial.

“We’re prepared to bring every possible legal defense on behalf of our client,” attorney John Lothspeich told the paper’s Terry Smith. “He is a lifelong dedicated hunter and fisherman and we deny any wrongdoing on the part of our client.”

 

A PAGE FROM SAVEELK.COM

 

According to Smith’s article yesterday:

A probable-cause affidavit filed by Fish and Game Conservation Officer Merritt Horsmon accuses Mayer of illegally killing a “6X6 bull elk” in the Alturas Lake Creek drainage area several days after the bow hunting season was closed in Unit 36 on Sept. 30, 2009. Horsmon alleges that the animal, of trophy status, was killed instead by Mayer on Oct. 3 and that Mayer did not have an elk tag at the time or a valid archery permit.

Horsmon wrote that he started the investigation after being told by other Fish and Game employees that Mayer had posted a story with photographs about the killing of the animal on the “Bowsite” website on Oct. 5, 2009. Details of the story, Horsmon wrote, indicated that the animal had been killed when the season was closed.

Horsmon wrote that Mayer posted the same story on the “Sportsman’s Warehouse Bragg’n Board” on Oct. 7, 2009. He further wrote that Mayer entered the animal’s antlers in the Twin Falls Sportsman’s Warehouse 2009 Bucks and Bulls contest.

Evidence was also gathered after a search warrant was served on Mayer’s home in Twin Falls on Nov. 11, 2009.

Horsmon wrote that Mayer told him in an interview on Oct. 8, 2009, that “he had first shot and wounded the elk using archery equipment on Sept. 30, 2009, and again shot and killed the elk using archery equipment on Oct. 1, 2009.”

Horsmon alleged that Mayer didn’t purchase an elk tag until Oct. 4, 2009, and that when he reported the elk harvest he claimed to have killed the animal on that day.

Speaking through his attorney, Mayer declined to comment on the charges to the Idaho Mountain Express.

Obviously we only know the state’s side of the story so far — and frankly, what’s confusing to me with all the dates about who did what when.

And it will be interesting to hear what comes out in a jury trial about the reason Mr. Mayer allegedly went out during closed season to kill the elk.

But I gotta say, WTF!?!

Even if Mayer is found not guilty, this can be nothing but a black eye for sportsmen and the country’s perception of us.

Here we have one of the biggest howlers about the horror that is the wolves who for all intents and purposes allegedly poached an elk, a species said to be on the ropes … because of the wolves.

I suppose it is possible that Mayer, feeling guilty about only wounding the animal, decided to mercifully finish the job.

But it’s puzzling why he allegedly didn’t have an elk tag in the first place. Or a permit to hunt elk with a bow.

We’ll see how this story develops.

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