Elk NetworkCell Phone Photo Leads to Successful Elk Poaching Case

Conservation | June 5, 2020

Two photos led to the conviction of an elk poacher in Idaho – one taken by investigators seeking to find who illegally killed a bull elk in northwestern Idaho and a second taken by a man from Oregon, yet discovered several months later.

Lee Sparks initially denied any involvement but he later pled guilty to the wasteful destruction of wildlife and a related charge when a phone search warrant turned up the photo that cemented his guilt.

“Not in a million years would you think someone who calls himself a hunter would do that. … The guy is a working professional-type individual,” George Fischer, Idaho Department of Fish and Game district conservation officer, told the Idaho County Free Press. “Probably people who know him would say, ‘Never in a million years! You got the wrong guy!’ But we definitely found the right guy.”

Sparks received 24 months of probation, 40 hours of community service, had his hunting privileges suspended through May 2023 and faced payment of $2,290 in penalties.

For 2020, Remington partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)