Colorado Hunter Sentenced for Lacey Act Violation Stemming from Nebraska Hunt
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska
Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced that Michael T. Ban, 50, of Elbert, Colorado, was sentenced today in federal court in Lincoln, Nebraska, for violations of the Lacey Act. Senior United States District Judge John M. Gerrard sentenced Ban to 2 years’ probation for unlawful transportation of wildlife in interstate commerce. Ban was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $5,000 and pay restitution in the amount of $4,000. As part of his probation terms, Ban shall not hunt, fish, trap, provide guiding or outfitting services, or assist or be present with anyone engaged in those activities for one year.
A joint investigation conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Law Enforcement Division determined that in September of 2019, Ban traveled to Nebraska to conduct an archery mule deer hunt. During the hunt, Ban unlawfully shot a mule deer in Lincoln County, Nebraska, and subsequently transported a taxidermy shoulder mount including parts of the unlawfully taken trophy deer back to his Colorado residence.
As contained in the plea agreement accepted by the Court and admitted by Ban, the investigation determined that in the fall of 2019, Ban traveled to Noble Outdoors, a commercial big game guiding business located in North Platte, Nebraska, to hunt mule deer during the archery season. During the hunt, Ban unlawfully shot a mule deer buck with 5 X 5 antlers in velvet without a valid deer permit and during closed season hours at approximately 11:12 P.M. on September 6, 2019. After taking the deer while guided and accompanied by the Noble Outdoors owner, Ban purchased a Nebraska Non-resident Archery Deer Permit the following day in order to conceal the fact the deer was taken without a permit. Under Nebraska state law, hunters are required to possess a valid permit and habitat stamp prior to hunting or taking mule deer and are authorized to hunt only during the legal shooting hours from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Today’s sentencing is part of the ongoing prosecution of numerous defendants related to violations committed by Noble Outdoors and its owner, associates, and clients between 2015 and 2021. In total, 17 defendants have been sentenced and ordered to pay a more than $65,000 in fines and restitution for state and federal violations related to the interstate transport of unlawfully taken wildlife, shooting deer from the road; taking deer and pronghorn without a valid permit, taking deer with a firearm during archery season, taking deer during night-time closed season hours; dumping carcasses in waters of the state; hunting without permission; and improperly checking or registering big game.
The operation was a joint investigation conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Law Enforcement Division.
Donald J. Kleine - Chief, General Criminal Unit (402) 661-3700
Updated August 1, 2023