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Press Release

Alabama Man Sentenced for Assisting Illegal Guided Deer Hunts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

DES MOINES, IA - On November 20, 2015, Kinsman Bruce Wolfe, 63, of Semmes, Alabama, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge John A. Jarvey to sixty days imprisonment for his role in illegal, guided deer hunts in Southern Iowa, announced Acting United States Attorney Kevin VanderSchel. Wolfe was also ordered to pay $12,000 in restitution to the Iowa Division of Natural Resources, pay a $3,000 fine, and pay for the costs associated with having court-appointed counsel. A term of three years of supervised release was imposed following Wolfe’s release from imprisonment, a condition of which will be the prohibition against Wolfe engaging in hunting and fishing activities. Wolfe was also ordered to pay a $300 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund.

Wolfe was convicted at trial on July 23, 2015, on two felony counts of violation of the Lacey Act for the unlawful sale of wildlife, and one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act. From around 2009 to January 2014, Steven Miller leased land in rural Lucas County, Iowa, to Robert Jerome Wilkins of Alabama in order for Wilkins to hunt white-tail deer. Wilkins, with the assistance of Wolfe, guided out-of-state hunters during paid hunts for trophy white-tail buck deer on Miller's land. None of these out-of-state hunters possessed hunting license or tags as required by the laws and regulations of the State of Iowa. Some of the hunters were successful in illegally killing white-tail buck deer, and the capes and antlers of those deer were transported from Iowa to Alabama.2

Wilkins previously pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, a felony. He was sentenced on July 17, 2015, to four years of probation, with a special condition of six months home confinement. Wilkins was also ordered to pay $12,000 in restitution, and pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund. Miller previously pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Lacey Act and on October 21, 2015, he was sentenced to four years of probation. Miller was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine, a $2,500 money judgment in lieu of forfeiture of equipment used during the illegal hunts, and a $25 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund.

This investigation was conducted by the United State Fish and Wildlife Service, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Alabama Game and Fish Division. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Updated February 4, 2016