After more than a month’s delay, Twin Falls resident Tony Mayer is on his way back to Blaine County 5th District Court to stand trial for felony elk poaching.
In a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Jason Walker ruled that the case against Mayer qualifies as a felony after elk horns from the animal he allegedly took were measured and found to be trophy size. Walker turned the case over to district court.
Janis Nelson of the Blaine County Prosecutor’s Office said no date was set for Mayer’s arraignment, but it should happen in the next two or three weeks.
Mayer, founder of the anti-wolf website SaveElk .com, was accused of elk poaching in northern Blaine County on Oct. 3, 2009, three days after the close of the bow hunting season. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game started an investigation after Mayer posted photos of the elk on some websites.
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Mayer was originally charged with felony poaching on Oct. 6, 2010. But in an Oct. 22 hearing, Judge R. Ted Israel dismissed the felony because Fish and Game officers had not followed proper techniques when measuring the elk horns.
An elk is considered a trophy animal if its horns receive a score of 300 or more, based upon a series of measurements. Under state statute, poaching a trophy animal is a felony. On Feb. 3, Fish and Game officials scored the horns at around 303 but the horns hadn’t been at room temperature for the required 60 days.
Prosecutors weren’t barred from trying again and on Tuesday, they prevailed.