A Nampa man convicted of poaching a trophy bighorn sheep along Idaho’s Main Salmon River will never be able to hunt again, according to Idaho Fish and Game.
Paul Cortez, 53, of Nampa, was sentenced by District Court Judge Gregory FitzMaurice to thirty days in jail, a $10,000 civil penalty, and a lifetime hunting ban.
The bighorn sheep was found on November 6th, 2015, by multiple Fish and Game Conservation officers on patrol.
Officers reported that Cortez had bloody hands and forearms when approached at his campsite on the river bank.
When Cortez was questioned, he admitted that he shot the bighorn sheep when it went to the river for water.
Cortez then field dressed the carcass and stashed it in the rocks above the water.
Officers initially cited Cortez for unlawfully killing a trophy big game animal, possession of an illegally taken bighorn sheep, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In April 2016, Cortez reached a plea agreement of felony count of unlawfully killing a trophy big game animal and the second felony was dropped.
During the sentencing, Judge FitzMaurice explained that punishment for Cortez was “lenient,” and doubled his jail time to 30 days.
Cortez told the court that he made a mistake in his judgment and asked the judge to not revoke his hunting privileges.
“The [illegal] killing of animals, especially rare animals, has serious consequences in this state,” Judge FitzMaurice said.