MT: State Supreme Court affirms Hamilton poacher's conviction
State Supreme Court affirms Hamilton poacher's conviction
December 6, 2010
HAMILTON - The Montana Supreme Court recently affirmed the conviction of
a Hamilton man found guilty in 2008 in a poaching case that spanned three
A Ravalli County jury convicted Kurt J. Norman, 44, of three felony
counts of possession of illegally taken wildlife following a two-day trial
in October 2008.
Norman lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for life, as
well as his rights to accompany anyone into the field. He was required to
pay $24,200 in restitution for the eight animals illegally killed in the
Norman also received a suspended five-year term with the Montana
Department of Corrections.
He appealed the conviction to the Montana Supreme Court, arguing that
Ravalli County District Judge Jeffrey Langton improperly instructed the jury
and that his attorney rendered ineffective counsel.
The Montana Supreme Court affirmed the District Court's decision in a
ruling filed on Dec. 2.
Norman was charged in 2008 following a lengthy investigation by Montana
Fish, Wildlife and Parks that started after wardens heard the man had
illegally killed a trophy mule deer buck on private property between
Skalkaho Highway and Sleeping Child Road.
Wardens executed a search warrant on Norman's home in Hamilton in May
2007 and seized photographs, computer records and trophy mounts.
Five other men pleaded guilty to various charges as a result of the
Testimony at the trial showed that Norman was involved with a number of
animals illegally killed in 2003, 2004 and 2007, as either the shooter or as
a person accompanying the shooter.
The deer were all killed in a hunting district set aside for trophy mule
Located southeast of Hamilton, Hunting District 270 is highly regulated
for the purpose of fostering a population of trophy mule deer bucks.
In 2007, there were only 100 permits issued for buck deer. Fifteen of
those went to landowners. For the remaining 85 permits, the state received
Court records said Norman was never issued a permit to hunt in the
district during the period that was investigated.
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