Second Texas Man Sentenced To Prison For Guiding Illegal Deer Hunts in Kansas
WICHITA, KAN. – A second Texas man was sentenced today to 27 months in federal prison on felony charges of conspiracy and wildlife trafficking related to the illegal sale of guided deer hunts in Kansas, said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.
Marlin Jackson Butler, 36, Martinsville, Texas, will serve three years on supervised release after he completes his prison sentence. While on supervised release, he will be prohibited from hunting, fishing or guiding hunts. He is ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $10,000 in restitution to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Butler pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and one Lacey Act interstate trafficking count. The Lacey Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport or sell in interstate commerce any wildlife taken or possessed in violation of state law or regulation.
According to court documents filed in the case, Marlin and his brother, James Butler, conspired together to knowingly transport and sell in interstate commerce deer that had been hunted in violation of Kansas state law. In particular, the brothers operated a guiding service and hunting camp called Camp Lone Star near Coldwater, Kan., at which they sold guiding services to out-of-state hunters for the purpose of illegally hunting and killing white-tailed deer and mule deer. Hunters guided by the Butler brothers killed deer in excess of annual bag limits, hunted deer without permits or with permits for the wrong deer management unit, killed deer using illegal equipment, and hunted using prohibited methods such as spotlighting. The guided hunts were sold for between $2,500 and $5,500, and in several instances resulted in the killing of trophy-sized buck deer. In addition to selling guiding services, the brothers also arranged for transport of the deer, in particular the antlers and capes, from Kansas to Texas and Louisiana.
In his plea, Marlin Butler admitted that from 2005 to 2008 he and other conspirators sold guided hunts for the illegal taking of deer in violation of Kansas law. During the 2007 hunting season, Butler admitted, he guided a hunter identified as SL on a deer hunt in Kansas. SL had an archery permit, but Butler encouraged him to hunt with a rifle. Hunter SL killed a 10-point, white-tailed deer with a rifle, after shooting hours, while Butler held a flashlight. Butler helped SL retrieve the deer and skin it. Ultimately, SL transported the antlers, cape and meat from Kansas to Texas.
Co-defendant James Butler was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.
Grissom commended the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster for their work on the case.