Four members of a Hardin family have been ordered to pay more than $22,000 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to 18 charges of illegally killing wildlife in two Montana counties and one charge of illegal outfitting. They also and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for a total of 24 years.
Paul A. Eschelman, 49, and his father, William J. Eschelman, 76, each paid $1,005 in fines in Petroleum County and lost their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a cow elk and two counts each of illegal transfer of a license. Paul A. Eschelman also paid restitution of $1,000.
In addition, Paul A. Eschelman was ordered to pay $5,035 in fines and $10,000 in restitution and lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 15 years after pleading guilty to nine poaching crimes in Bighorn County. The crimes included hunting during a closed season, killing too many deer and possession of an illegally killed bobcat, bull moose, bighorn ram, white-tailed deer buck, mule deer buck and antelope buck. He also pleaded guilty to outfitting without a license.
Jarred M. Eschelman, 19, Paul A. Eschelman’s son, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of white-tailed deer, mule deer and antelope bucks. He was ordered to pay $1,535 in fines and $1,500 in restitution and lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for five years.
Danielle R. Eschelman, 39, Paul A. Eschelman’s wife, pleaded guilty to possession of an illegally killed moose. She was fined $1,035 and lost hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for 2 years.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden Nick Taylor and investigator Matt Ladd said the Petroleum County crimes took place in the Missouri River Breaks in 2009 and 2011. The poaching crimes in Bighorn County took place between 2005 and 2012.
Logo courtesy Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks