Citizen’s Against Poaching - Thanks to You It Works
Friday, May 27, 2016
October 2015 - Senior Conservation Officer Kyle Christiansen, Southeast Region
The seven-day, controlled deer hunt for unit 73 was in full swing. The calls, mostly about four-wheelers being on roads they should not be on, were pouring in. On the morning of October 14th, 2015, one call, actually a voicemail, was a little different.
Senior Conservation Officer Kyle Christiansen and District Conservation Officer Marc Porter had spent the morning chasing groups of hunters who were possibly in violation of the motorized hunt rule and did not make it back to cell coverage until about 11:30 AM. Officer Christiansen had a voicemail waiting that went something like this: “Kyle, my brother and I just watched Bradley Chelette shoot two buck deer, gut one and put his daughters tag on it, hide the other one, and then take off! The guy didn’t even have his daughter with him, he was all alone!” Officer Christiansen immediately returned the call. He learned Bradley Chelette had still not returned to the two deer and this had all taken place in Arbon Valley, about an hour drive away.
Officer Christiansen began by calling the Oneida County Sheriff’s office to see if anyone knew if Chelette had a daughter; he did. Then he called the high school to see if Chelette’s daughter had been in school that day; she had been there all morning. Then a call to the Pocatello office verified Chelette only had a regular deer tag and not the required controlled deer tag, and Chelette’s daughter did have a valid controlled deer tag.
The young hunter who called Officer Christiansen was able and willing to take him to where the deer were. As they drove up to the kill site they saw three men walking towards the kill site up the hill. Officer Christiansen and the young hunter had reached the kill site only moments before Chelette and two of his buddies had made it back.
Officer Christiansen jumped into a field interview without first being able to see any evidence. Chelette said: he had shot a deer, tagged the deer with his daughters tag, and gutted the deer.
Officer Christiansen questioned him about the second deer, which Chelette tried to deny. Officer Christiansen asked: “If I compare the bullets found in each deer would they both be linked to this rifle?” Chellette answered: “yes, the bullets would both match his rifle, he did shoot two deer, and he did not gut the second deer. Chelette also said that he had already filled his regular deer tag in Unit 73A the day before.
Officer Christiansen instructed Chelette to field dress the second deer.
Chelette received $3,400 in fines/fees/restitution/etc., 30 days suspended jail time, two years of probation, and four years hunting revocation with two years suspended if Chelette writes a letter to the court after the first two years.