Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2005

Hunting guide pleads guilty


December 19, 2005

A Blue River hunting guide who led groups of out-of-state hunters on illegal hunts in Richland and Iowa counties pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges against him.

Adam L. Lawinger, 28, of Mineral Point, who owned Blue River Outfitters in southern Richland County, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to sell illegally hunted deer and turkey and to selling illegally hunted wildlife across state lines.

Lawinger faces up to five years in prison on each charge, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim O'Shea said that under a plea agreement, he will ask U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb for a reduction in his sentence for making a full statement to investigators about his actions and those of others.

Lawinger is also likely to get a sentencing break for admitting responsibility for what he has done. Crabb will sentence Lawinger on March 3.

Along with Lawinger, three out-of- state hunters have been charged in federal court with transporting illegally hunted deer across state lines. An additional 42 hunters have been charged in Richland and Iowa counties with various hunting infractions.

Lawinger was charged in federal court last month after an extensive investigation in which state and federal investigators went undercover to observe the way Lawinger and a partner did business.

The other man has not been charged. O'Shea declined Monday to say whether he would be.

O'Shea told Crabb that the agents would have testified during a trial against Lawinger that they were with Lawinger during illegal hunts. Among the violations they witnessed, O'Shea said, were turkeys that were shot with an illegal weapon and improperly tagged and deer that were shot by California hunters who had no deer hunting licenses.

The agents also saw deer shot after they were baited with corn and others that were shot at night using a spotlight, O'Shea said. Some were shot out of season, he said.

Lawinger later mailed antlers from two bucks shot by the California hunters. They were recovered during a search by wildlife officials of one of the hunters' homes, O'Shea said.


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