Four individuals were charged in Hill County Justice Court for violations that resulted in the killing of eight buck deer in Hill County in Sept. and Oct. of this year.
Elisha Rulison, 21, of Plains, and Tyler Adams, 20, of Havre, plead guilty to multiple counts of unlawful possession of a game animal, unlawful hunting from a public road, hunting during a closed season, unlawful use of artificial light while hunting, and a single count of killing an over limit of a game animal.
Janelle Baird, 20, of Zurich, and James Rulison, 20, of Plains, plead guilty to unlawful possession of a game animal, hunting during a closed season, unlawful hunting from a public road, and unlawful use of artificial light while hunting.
Based on several reports of suspicious activity in southern Hill County, wardens conducted a nearly month-long investigation which involved a tremendous amount of field work and information gathering. It was discovered that several people were involved and that multiple violations had occurred. On Oct. 20, 2015 Warden Sergeant Shane Reno, Criminal Investigator Dirk Paulsen, and Warden Andy Matakis interviewed the individuals connected with this poaching incident.
“This was not an instance where a single deer was killed by a person who made a minor mistake. This was a group of people who killed eight large bucks, some of them trophies, over the course of 23 days. This took a great deal of harvest opportunity away from the sportsmen of Montana,” Matakis said. “All of these deer were killed with a rifle prior to the general season, with the use of artificial light, and most of them were shot from a county road.”
Elisha Rulison was ordered by the Hill County Justice of the Peace to pay $1,157 in fines and $2,120 in restitution for the four deer he killed. Tyler Adams was ordered to pay $877 in fines and $1120 in restitution for the two deer he killed. Both men lost privileges to hunt, fish, and trap for life in Montana, as well as all 48 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. They were also sentenced to serve jail time in the Hill County Detention Center.
Janelle Baird was ordered to pay $490 in fines and $500 in restitution for the one deer she killed and, with her involvement with other deer taken in the case, lost her privileges to hunt, fish, and trap for life in Montana and all 48 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
James Rulison was ordered to pay $305 in fines and $500 in restitution for the one deer he killed. He lost his privileges to hunt, fish, and trap for 11 years in Montana, as well as all 48 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
Anyone with information about crimes involving fish, wildlife or park regulations is encouraged to call FWP’s 24-hour wildlife tip line at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for providing information that leads to a conviction.