Spanning over three years and three different states, officials have closed the case involving two Utah residents, an Idaho resident and a variety of poached and wasted animals.
A Nevada game warden was locked and detained behind closed gates while attempting to investigate the killing of a bull elk he had witnessed moments earlier in October of 2015. The 6×6 bull was shot on a property known as the K-Savy Ranch which spans across Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. When the accused was finally confronted, she offered up a Utah tag, despite the fact the bull had been shot well within the borders of Nevada. The incident ended up exposing two additional trophy-sized animals killed on the property, spawning a massive investigation.
The investigation was undertaken by both the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and has now ended in charges and convictions across both states for three individuals involved.
Amy Jo Summers, 42, of Tremonton, Utah, Steven Frank Bennett, 69, of West Valley, Utah and Susanne Arkoosh Bedke, 42, of Oakley, Idaho were all sentenced during hearings held toward the end of April 2017 and the beginning of this month.
Summers was sentenced in mid-May for gross misdemeanor willful possession of unlawfully killed big game and was hit with $625 in fines and a civil penalty of $2,000. Bennet also was sentenced for a misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of wildlife outside a prescribed season in Nevada in mid-April and also pled no contest on two misdemeanors for “wanton destruction of protected wildlife” for killing a pair of bull elk.
In total, Bennet was slapped with over $16,000 in fines and restitution, 18 months of probation, 40 hours of community service and a 20-year revocation of his hunting privileges.
Finally, Bedke also pled no contest to interfering with an officer, for her role in holding a game warden behind closed gates and was given an 180-day jail sentence suspended upon the terms of the court agreement, a $680 fine, and surcharge.
“This has to be one of the most bizarre cases we’ve seen in years,” said Chief Game Warden Tyler Turnipseed of NDOW. “We had landowners trying to stop the investigation, and we had numerous crimes on both sides of the border. Our partner organizations in Utah did great work, and our guys were able to piece together a complex case that was frustrating at times.”
“The evidence, in this case, showed that this wasn’t just an issue of a hunter accidentally crossing state lines but that this was an act of criminals deliberately poaching Nevada’s elk and not fully cooperating with the authorities,” said NDOW Game Warden Nick Brunson.