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Serial Poacher Sentenced to Wear A Tracking Collar


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!



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  1. Mr Hadley should not have been out of jail in the first place.As for fish and game actually killing two deer makes no sense at all.Even if you agree with the undercover Fish and Game officers following through with the actual killing of a game animal.Why did two animals have to be killed.In my mind the officers are no better than any other hunters that hire a illegal guide and know they don’t possess a tag for a coveted area.
    I am a firm supporter of Law enforcement and think poaching laws need to be strengthened.
    A lot of us anxiously sit and wait for our mail to see if by chance we should draw a limited draw chance of a lifetime,while thieves steal our pressiouse resources.

  2. Randolph Holford

    While the sentence may seem harsh I don’t believe it’s nearly harsh enough. A serial, repeat offender with no regard for society’s laws. Probably should have been 10 years on each count to serve concurrently. Until poaching violations are treated like what they are, crimes against society, the problem will persist.

  3. Wouldn’t the fact that the officers hired Hadley be enough for a conviction without the actual killing of any animals? The intent and execution to guide without a license is still there whether a shot was fired or not so no need to make a kill. Like walking into a bank with a gun and not robbing it, yet the intent is there still and it would probably be a armed robbery conviction.Is the sentence worded as Hadley can not step foot on public ground than at all? Can he still fish or just go for a walk on public ground cause if so than its hard to prove he would be doing anything illegal if he is unarmed or not with a hunter that he could be guiding. I dont see how his sentence could be to not step a foot on public ground under any condition at all. If so how would that prevent him from poaching or illegally guiding on private ground. Obviously he doesnt follow the law

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