MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho – Two men face jail time, their hunting licenses revoked, and thousands of dollars in fines after poaching elk near Yellow Pine.

The men, 36-year-old Jonathan Blaschka and Charles McCall, 41, both of  Mountain Home, allegedly gunned down two bull elk during an archery-only season in September 2016, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Both men held valid archery elk tags for the area.

In another incident, Blaschka returned to the Yellow Pine area in September 2017 and used a rifle to poach a large bull elk and a cow elk, again during the archery-only season, Fish and Game says.

Conservation officers were tipped to the poaching cases after a concerned citizen called the Citizens Against Poaching hotline,. During the investigation, officers were able to  seize a firearm, cellphone, elk antlers, and elk meat stored at Blaschka’s Mountain Home residence.

In one text message found on Blaschka’s cell phone, he bragged about shooting multiple elk, wounding another and shooting until he ran out of bullets. This and other similar evidence contributed to the formidable sentencing he experienced this spring.

Fish and Game says Blaschka recently appeared in court to face seven wildlife violations that include: two counts of poaching a bull elk, two counts of possession of an illegally-taken bull elk, poaching a cow elk, possessing an illegally-taken cow elk and using an elk tag belonging to another person.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, to be served during the next four months, and was ordered to pay nearly $9,000 in fines, court costs, processing fees and restitution. His hunting privileges were suspended for four years, and he received two years of unsupervised probation.

For his part in the poaching incident, the department says, McCall was fined $1,380 and lost his hunting privileges for one year.

Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game
Fish and Game conservation officer Jon Hunter poses for a photo with three bull elk that were taken illegally near Yellow Pine. (Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game)

Fish and Game says this case shows the important role that concerned citizens play in fighting wildlife crimes.

“With an average patrol area of over a thousand square miles, Idaho Conservation Officers cannot be everywhere at once,” Conservation Officer Jon Hunter said in a prepared statement “We depend on ethical hunters to be our eyes and ears in the field and encourage them to report illegal wildlife activities.”

You may report suspected wildlife violations by calling the CAP hotline at 800-632-5999.

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