A Missouri man was fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to participating in an illegal hunting operation in Nebraska.
Rodney L. Owen, 57, of Blue Springs, Missouri, also was sentenced to five years of probation for trafficking wildlife, a misdemeanor. During his probation, Owen will not be permitted to hunt, trap, assist or be present with anyone engaged in those activities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
A joint investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission determined that Owen traveled to Broken Bow in fall 2015, 2016 and 2017 to conduct illegal hunting activities. During the hunts, Owen and employees of Hidden Hills Outfitters of Arnold, Nebraska, led hunts that killed deer near bait locations. Under Nebraska state law, it is illegal to hunt within 200 yards of bait.
To date, federal officials said, 19 owners, guides and clients of Hidden Hills Outfitters have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced for violations related to deer taken within baited areas; deer, pronghorn and wild turkeys taken with weapons or firearms prohibited during their respective hunting seasons; deer taken during closed season hours, from the road or without a valid permit; and mule deer taken within the Mule Deer Conservation Area.
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Bison roam the canyons, hills, and grasslands of Fort Robinson State Park in northwest Nebraska.
Rick Brandt of Roca, Nebraska, saddles his mules at the Peterson Wildlife Management Area in Fort Robinson State Park.
Bighorn sheep are dropped gently at a site in Fort Robinson State Park near Chadron, Nebraska. The sheep were collected and airlifted to the park as part of an ongoing wildlife conservation and tracking effort.
Texas longhorns from the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge enjoy the scenic surroundings of the Red Cloud Buttes at Fort Robinson State Park.
Rain hits Saddle Butte at Fort Robinson State Park in Dawes County, Nebraska.
Mule deer weather a snowstorm on U.S. Forest Service land near the Black Hills Overlook on the west edge of Chadron State Park.
The West Ash fire burns at Chadron State Park near Chadron Neb., in Dawes County. In 2012, a pair of wildfires forced authorities to close the park, cancel classes, and evacuate about 150 residents.
Less than a year after the fires, green grass returns to the hillsides at Chadron State Park, but it will take decades to replace burned ponderosa pines.
Located about 25 minutes east of Valentine, Smith Falls State Park encompasses trails, campgrounds, and riverbanks along both sides of the scenic Niobrara River.
A historic iron footbridge leads to a boardwalk and the base of Smith Falls.
Smith Falls is the highest waterfall in Nebraska, standing at 70 feet tall.
Overlooking the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, Niobrara State Park gives visitors a panoramic view of the rivers and valleys below.
Using GPS coordinates, geocachers at Niobrara State Park go in search of hidden treasures.
A young whitetail buck can be seen through the trees along the road to Niobrara State Park. The winter months offer an exceptional opportunity to view wildlife in the park.
At the entrance to Ponca State Park stands the Towers of Time monument, featuring three towers, a fountain, waterfall, and reflecting pool. The monument is a celebration of the region's natural and cultural environment.
Alicia Wielgus of Columbus, Neb., lifts a common carp out of a water tank at the Missouri River Outdoor Expo at Ponca State Park.
Jonathan Wood of Roxbury, N.Y., prepares a barn owl for a demonstration during his Extreme Raptor show during the Missouri River Outdoor Expo. Wood showed falcons, owls, a bald eagle, and other raptors from around the world.
Birds take flight at Ponca State Park in Ponca, Nebraska.
An aerial photo of Eugene Mahoney State Park, Nebraska's most popular state park.
Ace, the horse, shows Melynda Schmit, of Kearney, Neb., how much he wants to be fed just before the horseback riding begins.
Rainy weather doesn't deter Kylee Batchelor, left, and Trent Barnes from enjoying Memorial Day weekend as they kiss on a paddle boat in E. T. Mahoney State Park.
Geese ignore a sign at Platte River State Park.
Fifth graders from Plattsmouth Middle School take part in an archery lesson. Nearly 2,000 school children participated in the Outdoor Discovery Program at Platte River State Park, trying out activities such as fishing, archery, kayaking, shooting, and other outdoor activities.
Students from Fairview Elementary School kayak at Platte River State Park as part of the Outdoor Discovery Program.
"Glamping," a portmanteau of "glamour" and "camping," defines the effort to experience nature without sacrificing the comforts of modern living. Three new glamping cabins were unveiled last year at Platte River State Park in Louisville, Nebraska.
Park visitors climb the stairs to the cave at Indian Cave State Park.
Emily Welch, age 6, and her mother Lisa Welch of Hamburg, IA, visit Indian Cave at Indian Cave State Park. On the cave walls, petroglyphs carved by Native Americans thousands of years ago can be seen.
In 2011, high water from the Missouri River closed the lower roads along the river at Indian Cave State Park. Due to statewide flooding during March of this year, access to the cave and river has once again been restricted.