KANAB, Utah, Jan. 22, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — An Arizona hunting guide found guilty of poaching a trophy-size desert bighorn ram in Utah has been ordered to pay large fines, and has been banned from hunting in 47 states for the next decade.
In July 2017, Larry Altimus of Pearce, Ariz., a hunting guide and outfitter, was found guilty of wanton destruction of protected wildlife — a trophy desert bighorn ram, which is a third-degree felony in Utah.
An eight-person jury in Kane County listened to three days of testimony before finding Altimus guilty of illegally obtaining a Utah resident hunting permit and then using the permit to kill a desert bighorn sheep ram on the Zion hunting unit in southwestern Utah.
“Kane County Deputy Attorney Jeff Stott did an outstanding job prosecuting this case,” said Mike Fowlks, director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “Hats off to the attorneys in Kane County. Stott and Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke did an amazing job.”
Every time a hunter applies for a Utah big game hunting permit, but doesn’t draw one, he or she receives a bonus point. Every point a hunter obtains increases the odds the hunter will draw a permit in the future.
By 2013, Altimus had earned 21 desert bighorn sheep bonus points in Utah. Even with a high number of points, the chance he’d draw a non-resident bighorn sheep permit were still slim.
“But, if he claimed residency in Utah, he knew he had a good chance of drawing a permit reserved for Utah residents,” Fowlks said.
In August 2013, Altimus rented a house in Kanab, Utah. In March 2014, he used his Kanab address to apply for one of 10 desert bighorn sheep permits available to Utah residents that year.
In May 2014, he drew the permit. In June 2014, he moved back to Arizona.
In October 2014, Altimus came back to Utah where he killed a huge desert bighorn ram using his fraudulently obtained permit.
Fowlks said Utah is one of 47 states that are part of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact.
“If you lose your hunting privileges in one of the states, you automatically lose your privileges in all of them,” he said. “Altimus won’t be hunting in any of the 47 states for a long, long time.”
In addition to losing his hunting privileges for the next 10 years, Altimus paid $30,000 in restitution and a $750 fine for killing the ram. Utah DWR investigators seized the head and horns of the illegally taken ram.
If you have information about a poaching case in Utah, or you see something suspicious while you’re in the out-of-doors, please let Utah DWR officers know by calling Utah’s Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline at 800-662-DEER (3337).