Justin Hadley from Darby, Montana has had quite the criminal history in Montana which includes prison time from poaching in the past. He was convicted in 2006 for poaching crimes including illegally killing a moose, bighorn sheep and a deer from the road, and wasting the meat from the animals. He was currently on probation from a 20 year prison sentence for burglary and theft in 2002 as well. So now, he has faced even more charges.
This year, Hadley reached a plea bargain that was negotiated down from 33 charges to five, but includes three felony counts. He is sentenced to five years in jail with another 10 years suspended for illegally outfitting, and possessing animals taken illegally which included two deer and a bull elk. Another misdemeanor violation he pleaded guilty to was aiding a person to hunt mule deer in Hunting District 270, the hardest tag to draw in the state.
The investigation started back in 2016 and it was found that he guided 18 people while working without a guide license. But wait, it gets better. Apparently, FWP didn’t have enough dirt on him so two undercover investigators from FWP hired him to take them into hunting in HD 270. Both officers shot mule deer and a bull elk! Are you kidding me? FWP felt like they had to shoot two mule deer bucks from the most coveted area in the state to catch this guy?!?! That just doesn’t sit right with me, but at least a criminal was brought to justice.
The kicker is, after he is released from jail he is required to wear a GPS tracking device from the months of September through February to make sure he doesn’t stray back onto land open to hunting. Crazy huh? Must be like being on parole and having to wear an ankle bracelet. Perhaps this will set the precedent for repeat offenders of fish and wildlife violations. It’s not a bad idea if I do say so myself!