The Montana Onion Exclusive
DFWP Ramps Up
Enforcement; Protects Montana Wildlife Resource
Helena, Mont. - March 22, 2012. In a move designed to
protect the state's important wildlife resource, the Montana
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has begun a new effort to
curb poaching. As an opening salvo in its new program, DFWP
has cited 23 year old Samantha Broderick for illegally killing a
deer on Highway 93 between Missoula and Hamilton.
Ms. Broderick is alleged to have illegally taken a deer out of
season when she struck a deer in the southbound lane of Highway 93
with her Dodge pickup. She has also been cited for not
having the proper tag for the game animal she killed, for not
tagging the animal immediately after the kill, for not wearing
sufficient hunter orange clothing while in the process of taking a
regulated game animal, for not reporting the illegal kill
immediately to DFWP, for wasting a valuable wildlife resource
because she left the deer on the roadside, for using her pickup as
an illegal means of taking a game animal, and for using artificial
illumination while hunting, all in violation of existing state
DFWP Chief Game Warden Mortimer Cop commented, "These are all
serious crimes against the people of Montana and a tragic waste of
our valuable wildlife resource. The law clearly defines
'hunting' as the taking of a regulated game animal, which is what
this poacher has done. She confessed to all these crimes."
Ms. Broderick was located in the emergency room of Daily Memorial
Hospital where she was taken to have her two small children
checked out for possible injuries after her pickup was nearly
totaled in the collision. She explained, "Of course my
headlights were on, even though it was daylight. The signs
all ask drivers to drive this stretch of road with headlights
on. That's why I was charged with illegally using artificial
illumination to kill the deer. I don't think that charge
should apply to me."
Cop continued, "DFWP has a 99% conviction rate for wildlife
crimes. We have learned that if we charge every possible
offense against poachers like Borderick then we run the defense
costs up so high that poachers can't afford anything but to plead
guilty to something. That way, we keep our conviction rate
high. Nobody can afford to fight us. After all, we can
hire all the lawyers we want to prosecute these cases at taxpayer
Snerdley Snider witnessed the incident while north bound on his
way home from work. Following the collision, Snider
transported Broderick and her children to the hospital.
Snider reports, "We had only been at the hospital for about five
minutes to get the children treated when the game warden showed
up. I was really surprised at all the citations the game
warden issued, including citing both children for being
accessories to all of the crimes. When the warden was
finally finished writing all the citations, the children were
allowed to go into the emergency room for treatment. The
warden told Ms. Broderick, 'Don't take it personally ma'am, I'm
just doing my job by enforcing the laws the Legislature passes.' "
Frank Factotem, a local attorney, just happened to be at the
hospital emergency room. He estimated that it will cost Ms.
Broderick about $90,000 in legal fees to defend against all of the
citations issued. He said the new level of DFWP enforcement
will be great for lawyers. Private sector lawyers will get a
windfall, and public sector lawyers will have enhanced job
security. "It's a win-win for everybody" he said.
Sally Surefoot, an activist with the Mountain Wildlife Foundation
criticized DFWP for not doing enough to protect Montana's wildlife
resource. "This is just a tiny step in the right direction"
she said, but she encourages DFWP to go much further.
"Nobody really knows how many innocent creatures are killed every
year by meteors," she continued. She hopes DFWP will build a
meteor-proof roof to protect wildlife from meteor strikes.
When asked about how wildlife would survive in the darkness
created by the roof, she replied, "Well, they could just take it
down in the daytime. At least that would protect these
innocent creatures half of the time."
Broderick's bail hearing will be held in three weeks. Until
then, DFWP will insist that she be held without bail. When
asked if this was reasonable, Chief Warden Cop said, "These are
serious crimes. We can't take a chance that Broderick will
flee to escape justice, or perhaps kill again. As long as
she's in jail, she won't be able to do any more poaching."
When asked about how Broderick's young children would fare in her
absence, Cop commented, "Hey, we can't solve everyone's problems
for them. Besides, the children will probably be in jail
with her since they have been cited as accessories to all of
Broderick's crimes. They were certainly present when the
crimes were committed. Let a jury deal with their guilt."
DFWP is also moving forward with forfeiture of Broderick's home
and future wages as "fruits of the crime." "If we allowed
poachers to profit from their crimes, that would just encourage
others to poach too," Cop stated.
DFWP will ask the upcoming Legislature for more funding to hire
approximately 1,376 new game wardens to bolster it's anti-poaching
enforcement drive. Agency administrators assert that
existing personnel are spread far to thin to adequately staff its
new enforcement goals.
In a related move, DFWP staff will ask the DFWP Commission to
designate mice, flies and mosquitoes as regulated game
animals. Staff calculate that sales of mice, fly and
mosquito licenses, and revenue from enforcement against people who
take those regulated animals without licenses, will help offset
the cost of hiring new game wardens.
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