Two Virginia men were sentenced Tuesday in federal court to one year probation and fined for illegally hunting deer in Nebraska.
Gregg Davis, 39, of Ruckersville, and Chadwick Graham, 44, of Charlottesville, were sentenced by Judge Michael D. Nelson in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska for violating of the Lacey Act. Davis and Graham individually were ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $10,000 and restitution in the amount of $10,000.
During their terms of probation, Davis and Graham 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 conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission determined that in the winter of 2015, Davis traveled to Hidden Hills Outfitters, a commercial big game guiding and outfitting business located near Broken Bow, Nebraska, to conduct wildlife hunts. During the hunts, Davis unlawfully shot a white-tailed deer prior to the legal shooting hours with a .308 caliber rifle and ultimately killed the deer with a suppressed .17 caliber rifle.
Davis had the trophy parts of the deer transported out of the state for taxidermy services and then to his Virginia residence. Davis paid Hidden Hills Outfitters at least $4,500 for the guided and outfitted hunts.
The investigation also determined that in the winter of 2015, Graham traveled to Hidden Hills Outfitters to conduct wildlife hunts. During the hunts, Graham unlawfully shot a white-tailed deer without a valid permit, while parked upon the roadway, during closed season hours, and with a prohibited suppressed .308 AR-style rifle.
Graham also had the trophy parts of the deer transported out of the state for taxidermy services and paid Hidden Hills Outfitters at least $4,500 for the hunts.
From 2015 through at least 2016, Davis and Graham killed several additional white-tailed deer, mule deer, and turkeys using similarly illegal methods and with the guidance and assistance of a Hidden Hills Outfitters guide.
The convictions are part of the ongoing prosecution of numerous defendants related to violations committed by owners, guides and clients of Hidden Hills Outfitters, according to the United States Attorney's Office.
To date, 21 defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced and ordered to pay a total of $141,700 in fines and restitution for violations related to deer taken within baited areas; deer, pronghorn, and wild turkeys hunted 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.