BEDFORD – Ollie Odle Jr. of Bedford, David E. Ricker, 48, of Harrisburg, Pa., and Jeffrey A. Mealey, 47, of Dillsburg, Pa., are suspended from hunting for one year and face more than $22,600 in fines after pleading guilty to hunting violation charges in Taylor county.
According to a report from Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Officer Andrea Bevington, Odle was found guilty of two charges in the aiding and abetting of illegal taking of antlered whitetail deer after providing deer licenses, or tags, to two out-of-state hunters.
The charges brought against Odle, Ricker and Mealey are a result of a two year investigation, which began in early 2010.
Bevington’s report also stated Ricker pleaded guilty in March to one count of illegal taking of an antlered whitetailed deer and one count of fraudulently obtaining a resident deer license and Mealey pleaded guilty to illegal possession of an antlered whitetailed deer in early 2012. Odle was found guilty by jury Oct. 17, 2012.
According to Bevington, Ricker and Mealey are owners of Whitetail Fantasies — a hunting guide business.
“Basically, other hunters were making comments, so, we checked into these guys,” said Bevington in a Creston News Advertiser interview Wednesday.
Bevington said changes in residency laws have made it more difficult for both resident and nonresident hunters to obtain hunting permits. Before 2009, nonresident hunters were only required to submit a driver’s license and undergo a 30-day waiting period. Now, nonresident hunters are required to provide more information.
Resident hunters are able to obtain more than one license a year and pay less than nonresident hunters. Bevington suggested the more stringent requirements for nonresidents have enticed some to cut corners and obtain resident licenses illegally.
“It seems, in the last five to 10 years, it has been a bigger problem,” said Bevington. “There are more nonresidents falsifying information.”
Bevington said there are “several more people” she is investigating.
The state of Iowa is a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, an agreement between participating states, which prohibits a person whose hunting or fishing privileges are suspended in one state from participating in those activities in 38 other states.
Changes in residency laws were implemented in 2009 to identify a growing problem in Iowa of nonresidents falsifying records to illegally obtain resident licenses. Bevington has been actively investigating cases of nonresidents fraudulently obtaining resident licenses and illegally hunting game in Adams and Taylor counties.
In the press release, Bevington said the state of Iowa is known for its trophy whitetail deer, which is a natural resource that attracts people from all over the world.
“Unfortunately, these resources sometimes draw individuals here who exploit the resource and break Iowa laws,” said Bevington.