Four Michigan men have been convicted on illegal hunting charges that recently netted a total of $7,045 in fines and restitution in Montana.
One member of the party, Russell Lee Vandercook Sr., 52, of Lapeer, Mich., was investigated in four different Montana counties for hunting without valid licenses and license fraud regarding his legal residency. The violations took place during the 2010 and 2011 hunting seasons.
In Gallatin County Justice Court in Bozeman, Vandercook pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of possessing unlawfully killed bull elk without a license. He was fined $370 and paid $2,000 in restitution and lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for a year for those violations.
Vandercook also pleaded guilty in:
Also recently convicted in McCone County Justice Court were:
The cases were initially investigated by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6 Warden Todd Tryan of Glasgow, with assistance from Region 7 Warden Mark Krings of Miles City and FWP Criminal Investigator Lennie Buhmann of Havre.
As the cases developed, the Montana investigators traveled to Michigan, where they were helped by law enforcement officials from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Two bull elk and two mule deer bucks were recovered in the process.
“Cooperation between our agencies in Michigan and Montana was essential in getting these cases wrapped up and gaining these convictions,” Tryan said. “It was truly a joint investigation.”