CEDAR COUNTY, Iowa- Three generations of a Michigan family have agreed to pay 51-thousand dollars in fines and turn over 17-deer mounts after a poaching investigation, that spanned 16-years.
The Iowa DNR found the family had an arrangement with a Cedar County land-owner, who provided lodging and tags for deer harvested, in exchange for fishing opportunities in Michigan.
Investigators say the Michigan hunters never purchased or applied for non-resident hunting licenses.
"Thanks to one single tip from the public which led us to the initial investigation and eventually turned into something much greater, we were able to put a stop to years and years of illegal activity,” said Eric Wright, DNR conservation officer. “Deer hunting is a very popular sport and hobby across our state and we want to ensure that all hunters are doing so fairly and abiding by the law.”
The hunters involved (49-year-old Douglas Leo Hebert, of Indian River, Michigan, his 51-year-old brother, Jeffrey Leo Hebert of Bay City, Michigan, and their 73-year-old father, Leo Frederick Hebert of Bay City, Michigan) agreed to a plea agreement with the Cedar County Attorney's Office. Charges were not filed against juveniles, as part of the plea deal.
The DNR says the agreement means the individuals' access to hunting privileges in Iowa was suspended for a minimum period of three years. The plea agreement impacts their access to hunting across 46 other states, because Iowa is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. This suspension may be observed in any of the other member states at the discretion of the appropriate authorities in those states.
The three Iowa residents involved who knowingly aided and abetted the Michigan poachers cooperated fully throughout the investigation and agreed to pay fines totaling $780.
The Iowa DNR encourages anyone who has knowledge of unlawful hunting to report it to their local conservation officer or call the Turn In Poachers (T.I.P) Hotline at 1-800-532-2020 or at www.iowadnr.gov/tip.