Verde Valley man receives jail sentence for continued disregard of wildlife laws

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December 22nd, 2008

Benjamin Scott, a Verde Valley resident, was found guilty on Nov. 17 in the Prescott Justice Court for possessing an unlawfully taken mule deer and using another individual’s big game permit.

Due to Scott’s extensive history of wildlife violations, Yavapai County Deputy Prosecutor Eric English asked for a separate sentencing hearing, held Dec. 15.

After reviewing Scott’s previous wildlife convictions, Prescott Justice Court Judge Arthur Markham sentenced Scott to 10 consecutive days in jail, three years of unsupervised probation, $600 in jail fees, $250 for possession of an unlawfully taken mule deer, $250 for using another individual’s big game tag, and 40 hours of community restitution to be completed at a nonprofit organization.

For the past two years, Scott has been the focus of a long-term investigation by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and has recently received court fines in Coconino and Yavapai counties that totaled $4,220 for violations of wildlife laws.

In addition, Scott has had cases come before the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on seven occasions, and he has been civilly assessed a total of $7,000 for the loss of wildlife to the state of Arizona, and his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges have been suspended for a total of 38 years.

The commission’s action to revoke Scott’s license privileges has far-reaching implications. Arizona is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact with 32 other states and seven Canadian provinces. Until Scott’s license privileges are restored in Arizona, he will not be able to legally hunt in any of those states or provinces.

Scott will soon appear before the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for the Nov. 17 conviction, at which time the commission will vote on whether to civilly assess Scott up to an additional $8,000 for the state’s loss of the trophy mule deer and will also vote on whether to suspend Scott’s license privileges for an additional five years.

Currently, Scott has one case pending in Yavapai County and, if convicted, may face an additional $1,500 assessment for the loss of wildlife to the state of Arizona and a loss of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges permanently.

Anyone having information pertaining to the unlawful take of wildlife or other violations of wildlife laws is urged to call the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief toll-free hotline at 1-800-352-0700. Calls can remain confidential upon request, and callers may be eligible for cash rewards.

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