Kevan Hueftle, 35, of Eustis was sentenced Wednesday in Omaha for violating the Lacey Act, United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced.
Magistrate Judge Nelson ordered Hueftle to pay $10,000 in restitution and a $5,000 fine.
Hueftle was convicted of one count of the illegal taking of wildlife in interstate commerce and sentenced to three years’ probation.
As part of his probation terms, Hueftle shall not hunt, trap, guide, outfit or otherwise assist or be present in the field with anyone engaging in those activities.
The Lacey Act prohibits trafficking in interstate commerce “tainted” (i.e., taken in violation of a law or regulation) wildlife, fish or indigenous plants.
The sentencing was part of the ongoing prosecution involving owners, guides and clients of Hidden Hills Outfitters, based near Broken Bow. To date, 34 defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced and ordered to pay a total of $595,202 in fines and restitution.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
An investigation determined that Hueftle, an employee of Hidden Hills Outfitters, provided guiding and outfitting services to a New York resident on property west of Eustis in Frontier County. Hueftle had previously identified a particular target white-tailed deer named “Holyfield” with the aid of electronic game cameras over-watching various bait sites upon the property. Throughout the first several days of the hunt, Hueftle placed and assisted the client in hunting “Holyfield” from locations Hueftle and the client knew were within baited areas.
Nebraska law prohibits hunting or taking deer within a baited area, defined as within 200 yards of any location where bait is placed for the purpose of hunting or that may serve as an attractant for big game.
The client observed “Holyfield” on several occasions during the hunt, but outside of archery shooting range. On Nov. 11, 2016, the final day of the hunt, Hueftle provided the client with a Remington 700 .243 caliber rifle, placed the client in an elevated tree stand and authorized the client to shoot a deer with the rifle. The client later killed the target deer with the rifle, both knowing Nebraska law prohibited hunting deer with a rifle under the authority of an archery permit.
Hueftle assisted the client in transporting the deer from the field, arranging to have the trophy parts converted into a taxidermy mount from a local taxidermist and coordinating for the finished mount to be shipped later to the client’s New York residence.
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