RUPERT— A Heyburn man charged with 15 wildlife violations after police said he had an unlicensed taxidermy operation has taken a plea deal.
Under plea agreement with the Minidoka County Prosecutor’s Office, Jakob Kade Pelton pleaded guilty in January to felony counts of wasteful destruction or possession of wildlife and possession of unlawfully taken wildlife along with a misdemeanor count of possession or waste of wild animals and two misdemeanor counts of wasteful destruction or mutilation of wildlife, according to court documents.
In return, the prosecutor will dismiss the 10 remaining charges, which included misdemeanor failure to obtain a taxidermist license and a wildlife storage violation.
The prosecutor will recommend supervised probation with a suspended three- to five-year prison sentence.
Pelton will pay fines and fees and the prosecutor will seek restitution for Idaho Fish and Game in the amount of $12,975. The prosecutor will also ask the judge to suspend Pelton’s hunting and trapping license.
A sentencing hearing in the case is set for March 11 in Minidoka County District Court, but the Idaho Department of Correction has requested a three-week extension to complete a presentence report.
Pelton was charged along with three other men, Trevor Blincoe, Isaiah Mark Cofer and Jamey Dean Larsen, all of Paul.
The charges against Blincoe were dismissed by the judge without prejudice in October.
Larsen pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstructing officers and was sentenced in November to 12 months of supervised probation and 20 days of community service, which the judge suspended. He was ordered to pay $675 in restitution to Idaho Fish and Game and his hunting license was suspended for two years. A felony count of killing or possessing any combination of species within 12 months was dismissed.
Cofer pleaded guilty in January to felony unlawfully killing, possessing or wasting any number of species within 12 months and a misdemeanor count of wasting wildlife will be dismissed. A sentencing hearing is set for March 11 in Minidoka County District Court.
According to court records, Fish and Game officials investigated calls regarding game that was shot and wasted on the desert east of the city of Minidoka and near Lake Walcott in November.
Some of the animals were beheaded like someone was preparing a mount. Sportsmen in the area led officials to a Rupert residence where they located Pelton’s truck. In the truck bed was a skull of a male mule deer and equipment used to process mounts. They also found wasted grey partridge and cottontail rabbit.