Twelve Convicted in Richland County Montana Illegal Hunting Case

Twelve Convicted in Richland County Montana Illegal Hunting Case

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

GLASGOW, Mont. –-(Ammoland.com)- Ten residents of Wisconsin and North Dakota and two residents of Montana have been convicted as part of a multi-year investigation of illegal hunting activities in rural Richland County.

According to FWP Criminal Investigator Lennie Buhmann and Savage-based FWP Warden Randy Hutzenbiler, the total amount of fines, bond and restitution collected in the case was $17,416. The 12 defendants also lost a total of 63 years of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges in the 34 states involved in the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact.

Buhmann and Hutzenbiler said the case primarily revolved around Montana residents – Paul D. Leinen, 60, and James A. Leinen, 66, both of Poplar – loaning hunting licenses to non-resident family members and friends so they could illegally kill big game animals.

Paul D. Leinen and James A. Leinen each were charged with loaning a license to another person and failing to properly validate a license. They were each fined $370 and lost their hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for 10 years.

The two-year investigation, which also involved the North Dakota Department of Game and Fish and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, led to a search warrant being issued on vehicles and a private residence along the Missouri River in Richland County.

Other defendants and their criminal case dispositions in Richland County and Roosevelt County Justice Courts include:

  • Clete C. Leinen, 70, of Fairmount, N.D., who was initially charged with possession of an unlawfully killed white-tailed buck; loaning a license to another person; and purchasing resident hunting and fishing licenses as a non-resident. As part of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty only to the residency charges. He was fined $846 and lost his privileges to hunt, fish and trap for 10 years.
  • Michael L. Leinen, 65, and Ron M. Leinen Jr., 40, both of West Bend, WI. The elder Leinen used another person’s license and killed a white-tailed buck without a license. He was assessed $1,270 in bond forfeiture and restitution. The younger man used another person’s license (two counts) and possessed an unlawfully killed antelope. He forfeited a $1,005 bond. Both men lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years.
  • Scott Vercauteren, 37, and Lanna Vercauteren, 36, both of Campbellsport, WI. Lanna loaned a license to another person and forfeited $235 bond. Scott killed three mule deer bucks, a turkey and an antelope without licenses; used other people’s licenses and failed to properly validate a license. Total bond forfeited and restitution, $5,040. Lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for three years.
  • Scott Morenzien, 32, of Fond du Lac, WI. Possessed an unlawfully killed mule deer buck. Total bond forfeited and restitution, $1,035. Lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years.
  • Larry Morenzien, 51, of Kewaskum, WI. Possessed an unlawfully killed white-tailed buck and mule deer buck. Total bond forfeited and restitution, $2,070. Lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years.
  • Dennis G. Wittkopf, 67, and Scott D. Wittkopf, 32, both of Fond du Lac, WI. Each possessed two unlawfully killed white-tailed bucks and each paid $2,070 in forfeited bond and restitution. Dennis lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for two years. Tammy Wittkopf, also of Fond du Lac, possessed a single unlawfully killed white-tailed buck. She paid $1,035 in forfeited bond and restitution. Tammy and Scott Wittkopf each lost privileges to hunt, fish and trap for 10 years.