OSTEGO COUNTY, Mich. – Three Northern Michigan men have been arraigned in a 2019 Pigeon River Country elk poaching case.
Officials said the three men are responsible for what Department of Natural Resources conservation officers call a “historic elk poaching case.”
They were arraigned in the Otsego County 87A District Court. All three men pleaded not guilty to a total of eight wildlife crimes after admitting to poaching three cow elk in Pigeon River Country in December of 2019.
- Christian White, 29, of Gaylord was arraigned on four charges: hunting deer without a license, taking an over-limit of elk, failing to make a reasonable effort to retrieve the elk and taking elk in the wrong hunting unit.
- Harry White, 70, of West Branch was arraigned on three charges: taking an over-limit of elk, failing to make a reasonable effort to retrieve elk and taking elk in the wrong hunting unit.
- Ronald White, 56, of West Branch faces one charge: taking an over-limit of elk.
Conservation officers began investigating the three men more than a year ago after receiving anonymous tips.
“This case can be summed up with one word – diligence,” said Sgt. Mark DePew, who supervised the case. “Without our officers’ professional commitment to pursuit of the facts, these suspects would have gotten away with one of the worst elk poaching incidents I have ever seen. By utilizing teamwork, technology and good old-fashioned police work, this case could not have come to a better conclusion.”
During the investigation, the Whites confessed to conservation officers that they poached the three elk.
If found guilty, the Whites will serve a mandatory 30 days in jail, with a maximum stay of 180 days. The misdemeanor charges include a 15-year revocation of hunting privileges and reimbursement of up to $5,000 per elk.
The men are scheduled for a jury status conference on Feb. 11.
Anyone who witnesses or suspects a natural resource violation should immediately call or text the Report All Poaching hotline line at 800-292-7800.
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