Six Men Convicted in Phillips County Illegal Outfitting Case
By Matt Schauer
In 2009, Dirk Paulsen, a FWP warden, began investigating reports of illegal outfitting in the Frenchman Creek area, north of Phillips County. Paulsen discovered Tabb Huntly, of Deer Lodge, had a hunting lease on a ranch, but was not a licensed outfitter.
“It was discovered that nonresident hunters were coming up to the ranch to hunt antlered deer but were only purchasing antlerless Deer B licenses,” Paulsen said. “The hunting took place on both private and public lands. Huntley acted as an outfitter and provided the lease and accommodations for the nonresident hunters under the ruse that they were participating in a legal hunting club.”
Paulsen reports that after executing a search warrant of Huntley’s house, multiple mounts of illegally harvested mule deer and white-tailed deer were seized. With help from wardens in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, Huntley and five non-residents hunters were charged in Phillips County Justice Court.
Below are the misdemeanor convictions and penalties approved by Phillips County Justice of the Peace Gary Taylor:
- Huntley pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of a game animal and two counts of acting as an outfitter without a license. Huntley was fined and lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for four years.
- Mark Vetula, of Home City, PA, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a game animal. Vetula was find and lost his privileges for two years.
- Brian Szalkowski, of Homer City, PA, pleaded guilty to failing to keep a legal license attached to game animal.
- Larry Cox, of Lake Cormorant, MS, pleaded guilty to hunting without a valid license and unlawful possession of a deer. He was fined and lost his privileges for two years.
- Donald Allen, of Thaxton, MS, pleaded guilty to hunting without a valid license, unlawfully possessing a deer and illegally transporting an untagged deer. He was fined and lost his privileges for two years.
- Bennie Randolph, of Pontotoc, MS, pleaded guilty to hunting without a valid license, unlawfully possessing a deer and illegally transporting an untagged deer. He was fined and lost his privileges for two years.