Tips from public lead to conviction for wildlife crimes in Madison County

MADISON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) — On Oct. 24, Brayden Froehlich was convicted in Madison County District Court of multiple wildlife crimes, including a felony of unlawful killing, possession or waste of wildlife and a misdemeanor count of hunting with a suspended license.

Froehlich’s initial 2-year license suspension stemmed from an earlier prosecution in 2020 after officers received a tip from the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline, which alerted them to Froehlich killing a deer with a rifle during archery season would have. In addition to his wildlife crimes, Froehlich was also convicted of a Madison County burglary.

An intensive investigation by Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officers and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office resulted in charges relating to seven animals illegally captured by Froehlich, including a 5-spot white-tailed buck, a 2-spot white-tailed buck, three white-tailed buck tuts, a bull elk and a pronghorn antelope. These wildlife violations occurred during the months of July and August 2021 near Rexburg, Madison County.

“Often people fail to report wildlife crime because they think it’s not important or because they think there’s nothing that can be done,” said Barry Cummings, Regional Conservation Officer. “A large majority of cases that can bring conservation officials to successful prosecutions began with a tip-off from the public.”

As part of his conviction, Froehlich received a lifetime hunting ban in Idaho and the 48 other states that are members of the Wildlife Violators Compact. He was also sentenced to a rider program with an underlying 5-year prison sentence following a 6-year prison sentence for burglary. A restitution sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 5, 2022.

“No matter how big or small the violation, we really appreciate the people who call with information to help officers make connections who solve wildlife crimes,” Cummings said. “A simple phone call can make all the difference when it comes to bringing wildlife violations to justice.”

If you have information about a wildlife crime, officials encourage you to call the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999 24 hours a day. Callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward. In addition to the CAP hotline, people can contact their local Fish and Game office or any law enforcement agency.

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