A former Montana hunting guide found out firsthand that it doesn’t pay to poach.
Brandon Kyle Schuhen last month pled guilty to five counts of “unlawful possession, shipping or transportation of a trophy big game animal,” reports The Billings Gazette.
As part of his punishment, the 23-year-old must complete 500 hours of community service at a wildlife conservation organization, pay $33,050 in fines to the state, serve 10 years of probation — and he will never be allowed to hunt, fish or trap again.
That lifetime hunting ban applies not only in the Treasure State but every state in The Union.
During sentencing, Yellowstone County District Court Judge Don Harris blasted the young man for his “egregious” behavior.
“I want you to know that in the state of Montana, these game animals are precious,” said Judge Harris. “And one of the very disturbing things to me in this case is that you shot these animals and mostly wasted them.”
Judge Harris was referencing, among other animals, the bull elk that Schuhen desecrated. After slaying the bull elk, Schuhen hacked off its head and left the rest of the body to rot.
Investigators believe that Schuhen illegally harvested all of the following:
- 6×4 mule buck
- 5×6 bull elk
- 6×6 bull elk with broken 7th tine
- 6×6 bull elk with drop brow tine
- two adult buck antelope
- two turkeys
“This case is rather troublesome, just in the gravity of the animals that were taken,” said Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Michael Ellinghouse. “They were all trophy game, essentially, except for count five.”
Schuhen who worked as a guide for two different outfitters was busted after authorities received a tip in 2017 concerning the decapitated elk. When police showed up at Schuhen’s residence, they found him running out the back door with his trophies in tow.
Prior to his arrest on these charges, Schuhen was already in hot water. His hunting, fishing and trapping privileges had been suspended after he was caught trespassing on private land.
Schuhen expressed remorse in court on the day of his sentencing, said he had “disappointed and embarrassed” his family.