Three Michigan relatives lose hunting privileges, fined $5,000 for poaching elk

Area residents found three illegally killed elk about 50 yards north of Hardwood Lake Road...
Area residents found three illegally killed elk about 50 yards north of Hardwood Lake Road near Bobcat Trail, in the Pigeon River State Forest, east of Vanderbilt. (Michigan Department of Natural Resources photo) (WJRT)
Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 1:25 PM EDT
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OTSEGO COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Three relatives from northern Michigan will not be allowed to hunt for 15 years and must pay $5,000 apiece for poaching three bull elk in 2019.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 70-year-old Harry White, 56-year-old Ronald White -- both of West Branch -- and 29-year-old Christian White of Gaylord pleaded guilty to one count of illegally taking an elk.

The three relatives were sentenced to six months of probation, a $5,000 fine and loss of all hunting privileges for 15 years in Otsego County District Court.

The poaching happened at the Pigeon River Country near Vanderbilt in December 2019.

DNR conservation officers began investigating the three men after receiving an anonymous tip that police say eventually linked the suspects to the poaching. Investigators connected the three men to the location where the three elk were located about 50 yards north of the Hardwood Lake Road near Vanderbilt.

Conservation officers say the men eventually confessed to poaching the elk.

“I am proud of our team’s investigative efforts, which ultimately brought these three men to justice,” said Sgt. Mark DePew, who supervised the investigation. “Our officers demonstrated teamwork and patience to quickly solve one of the worst – if not the worst – elk poaching case northern Michigan has ever seen.”

The Otsego County poaching case was the third in Michigan over a 30-day period in late 2019. Conservation officers are still investigating the death of a bull elk in the Pigeon River State Forest near Vanderbilt in November 2019 and another elk killed in Montmorency County a week later.

Anyone with information on the elk poaching cases or any other poaching in Michigan should call the DNR at 1-800-292-7800.

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