RUPERT — Four Minidoka County men are charged with the destruction and waste of wildlife, and police say one man had an unlicensed taxidermy operation.
Jakob Kade Pelton, 29, of Rupert, is charged with four felony counts of unlawfully killing, possessing or wasting any combination of numbers or species of animals within a 12-month period, misdemeanor unlawful taking of game animals, birds or furbearers, eight counts of misdemeanor wasteful destruction or mutilation of wildlife, misdemeanor failure to obtain a required taxidermy license and misdemeanor storage of wildlife or storage facility violations.
Trevor Blincoe, 25, Isaiah Mark Cofer, 21, and Jamey Dean Larsen, 20, all of Paul, are all charged with felony unlawful killing, possessing or wasting any combination or numbers of species within a 12-month period and misdemeanor wasteful destruction or mutilation of wildlife.
According to court records, Idaho Fish and Game officials investigated calls regarding game that had been shot and wasted on the desert east of the city of Minidoka and near Lake Walcott in November at multiple locations.
The officers said they found a tire tread pattern at the sites along with a piece of plastic from a vehicle at one of the locations and they retrieved bullets.
Some of the animals had been beheaded like someone was preparing a “European-style mount,” officers said.
The officers spoke with sportsmen in the area and a tip led to a Rupert residence where the officers located a white pickup truck, owned by Pelton.
In the bed of the truck, there was a European-skull of a mule deer buck and equipment used to process mounts. They also found wasted cottontail rabbit and grey partridge.
A search warrant revealed other animals and a taxidermy operation at the residence.
DNA evidence matched some of the animal parts at Pelton’s home with animals left at the scenes, the officers said. The tire tread on Pelton’s truck also matched those found were they animals were and damage on his truck matched a piece of plastic found at one of the locations.
No rifle hunting was open in the areas where the animals were found and none of the animals had archery wounds, the officers said.
The other three men had been hunting with Pelton, court records said.
The officers said Pelton was doing taxidermy work in exchange for money and good without a license or proper paperwork.
Pelton had purchased one deer tag in 2017.
He, Cofer and Blincoe are set to be arraigned July 12. A preliminary hearing for Larsen is set for July 11. All three hearings will be held in Minidoka County Magistrate Court.