Utah Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Illegal Big Game Hunting

DENVER (LAWFUEL) – Eric Leon Butt, Jr., age 35, of Herriman, Utah, was sentenced yesterday by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Walker D. Miller to serve 12 months (1 year) in federal prison for conspiracy to traffic in poached big game. Judge Miller ordered Butt to serve 3 years of supervised release, following his incarceration. As part of the sentence, Butt was ordered to forfeit his firearms and certain trophy wildlife parts. Mr. Butt, who was a big-game outfitter in western Colorado doing business as “Outdoor Adventures,” was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on August 8, 2007. He pled guilty before Judge Miller on February 15, 2008.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, starting in March of 2002, Butt guided non-resident paying clients on hunts for deer, elk and black bears in Colorado. During the hunts the defendant encouraged and allowed clients to kill big-game animals for which they did not possess the required hunting license.

“Outfitters that ignore the law face federal prison time,” said United States Attorney Troy Eid.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Special Agent in Charge Honora Gordon said, “We are very pleased with the outcome of this investigation, and hope that it will serve as a deterrent to others who might consider exploiting our nation’s wildlife for personal gain. Most hunters and commercial guides play by the rules and act in accordance with the law, but this case shows that when they don’t agencies will partner together to bring those individuals to justice. Joint investigations such as this one show that the combined efforts of State and federal agencies, and our federal prosecutors, result in prosecutions that hold these individuals accountable. We are grateful to Colorado Division of Wildlife and the United States Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this case,” Gordon said.

Butt is to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility within 15 days of designation. In addition to his Colorado case, the defendant faces felony charges in Utah. This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda A. McMahan and Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section Senior Trial Attorney Robert S. Anderson.

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