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Poaching case results in conviction

The three treed bears look down at pursuers at the end of the activity. Later two of the boys participating in the legal pursuit committed an illegal act by shooting all three to death. They were convicted of the crime late last month.

Two Blanding juveniles were recently convicted of three counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife after allegedly shooting three bears without a permit.

On Feb. 14, 7th District Juvenile Court Judge Mary Manly found the teens guilty of three felony counts. The judge sentenced the defendants to 30 days detention, 600 hours of community service, $1,500 in restitution and $450 in fines.

The convictions stem from an incident on Nov. 12, 2005, when the boys reportedly participated in a bear pursuit exercise for dogs. After the pursuit ended and the dogs and handlers vacated the area, the boys allegedly shot the treed sow and two cubs.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources' Conservation Officer Chris Rhea received a report about the dead bears. After a follow-up investigation, the officer identified the defendants.

Black bear poaching is a serious crime with major consequences, pointed out the DWR officials.

In addition to the monetary and community service penalties, the teenagers will become "restricted persons" and cannot possess firearms for hunting or sport, according to the judgment pronounced in the juvenile court case.

Carbon and EmeryCounty residents who witness a wildlife violation are encouraged to contact the public safety dispatch center or call the Help Stop Poaching Hotline toll-free at 1-800-662-DEER.

Wildlife is a heritage, enjoyed by and belonging to all Utahns. Citizens in Castle Valley and the state should not be victimized by the lawless actions of a very small minority, concluded the DWR.

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