CEDAR CITY — A Cedar City man has entered a plea in abeyance in connection with an elk poaching incident that occurred in the fall of 2019.
According to the agreement filed Jan. 4 in 5th District Court, 37-year-old Jeffrey Jace Hunt pleaded guilty to one count of wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a third-degree felony. In exchange for that plea, Judge Matthew L. Bell ordered Hunt to serve 18 months’ probation and pay an $8,000 fine to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Additionally, Hunt’s hunting privileges are to be suspended and/or revoked.
If Hunt keeps the terms of the agreement, the charges will be dismissed at the conclusion of the probationary period and the conviction won’t go on his record.
However, if Hunt should violate any of the agreement’s terms, he will be subject to being sentenced on the felony charge.
As previously reported in Cedar City News, DWR conservation officers were led to Hunt via a poaching tip received through the UTiP hotline on Nov. 28, 2019. The tip included details about a trophy bull elk that had been illegally killed a couple months earlier, on Sept. 7, 2019. Remains of a 6×6 bull elk were reportedly later found in Hunt’s garage. He had shot the animal in the Hamblin Valley area using archery equipment after dark, without a valid license.
Iron County Attorney Chad Dotson said his office worked closely with DWR officials in resolving the case.
“One factor in the decision was that the defendant cooperated with DWR investigators fully,” Dotson told Cedar City News.
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