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Anybody notice that Game Trails Outfitters was convicted of several misdemeanor game violations? Check out Kentucky DNR Website

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  • A. Lewis
    I hunted with gamestrails in Ky 2006 and 2007. I kill a 150 class buck in 2007. gametrails recmended Shannon Hooks to fix my deer head. I paid him for the mount and shipping. he promise me over and over that he was going to ship me my head. NO head yet for two years. Call Tim Odam manger for tcgametrails to help me to get my deer head. NO HELP. gametrail recomended Shannon so think they sould try to get my deer head. I lived 14 hrs away

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  • flhx1963
    This is the press release from Game Trails:
    "Sturgis, Kentucky. April 8, 2009. - Misstatements of fact and misleading information related to a misdemeanor case involving Game Trails, a company with operations in Kentucky, has prompted this release to clarify the record.

    On March 19, 2009, Game Trails, LLC, and its general manager Dirk MacTavish pled guilty to misdemeanor violations of the Lacy Act. More specifically, the violations were technical in nature and involved the mistagging and telechecking of deer. Both Game Trails and Dirk MacTavish paid fines. No other sanctions were imposed: no probation; no loss of hunting rights; and no loss of outfitter's licenses. Gregg Ritz was neither charged nor plead guilty to any violation, misdemeanor or otherwise.

    At all times throughout the process, Game Trails and Dirk MacTavish were forthright and cooperated fully. The mistakes in tagging deer were admitted and the matter was resolved. As noted, only fines were paid on technical misdemeanor violations. The case has been officially closed.

    The relevant facts with regards to this case can be accessed through the United States District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Owensboro. However, the same cannot be said for subsequent reports, which have been littered with half-truths and false accusations. The facts have been misconstrued and inaccurately characterized. This statement will present the truth.

    In addition to the aforementioned, the relevant facts are as follows. In 2006, Games Trails was instructed by an agent of the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife and mandated by the land owner Kimball International to reduce the number of deer on the property to help reduce crop damage. Game Trails had been informed by Kimball's on-site manager that the crop damage caused by deer population had resulted in Kimball International offsetting the tenant farmer's annual lease in the amount of $35,000. Authorities at Kimball advised Game Trails that its lease would be terminated if the deer population was not reduced.

    In an effort to comply, Game Trails conducted the largest ever camera survey for whitetail deer in association with the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) to determine the proper number of deer to be harvested. A formal report was presented to Kimball International by the QDMA with a recommendation to harvest 200 deer. However the Commonwealth of Kentucky conducted an independent deer damage assessment and concluded that the harvest number was far greater than 200.

    Game Trails sought the advice and cooperation of local Kentucky authorities to request and receive special consideration with the harvest process. The request for special consideration concerning the deer management program was rejected. Instead, Game Trails was informed that if it needed assistance in reducing the population, then it should consider allowing local authorities, their friends and family access to hunt. This idea was not satisfactory to Kimball.

    QDMA, on behalf of Game Trails, then appealed directly to officials in Frankfort, Kentucky, the state's capitol, to request special consideration for the doe harvest. Again, Game Trails was denied special consideration and was informed no consideration would be given as long as Game Trails was in possession of the hunting lease.

    Later, in 2006, Kentucky issued Game Trails several hundred Animal Control tags to accommodate the additional deer harvest requirements. The harvesting of the deer and use of the Animal Control tags were improperly managed by a former Game Trails' site manager, who applied the tags to any hunter; essentially "community tagging" the animals. The former site manager performed all operational aspects of the business and personally tagged every animal. He was later terminated for performance issues unrelated to this incident. It must be noted that no deer went unchecked and all deer were harvested by licensed hunters.

    To further clarify and correct the misinformation circulating we would like the public to know the following:

    • Neither Dirk MacTavish, General Manager of Game Trails, nor Gregg Ritz, owner of Games Trails, tagged or tele-checked any of the deer harvested;

    • There were no charges or fines levied against Gregg Ritz;

    • Neither Dirk MacTavish or Gregg Ritz made false statements to Investigators, or any other authorities;

    • Neither Dirk MacTavish nor Game Trails lost their outfitting license, hunting rights or were placed on probation;

    • Every deer killed was processed and given to families in need;

    • With the exception of this 2006 incident, no other violations were found to have occurred during the period in which Game Trails occupied the property;

    • Felony prosecution of former Game Trails' employee Chris Helms is only incidental, and is unrelated to this matter; neither Gregg Ritz nor Dirk MacTavish have any involvement with that case; and

    • Kimball International sold the Sturgis, Kentucky land last November (four months prior to this event) and the new landowner chose not to sublease the hunting rights, resulting in Game Trails closing its Kentucky operation at present.

    Due to the mistagging and telechecking at Game Trails, the personal and business reputations of Game Trails, Gregg Ritz and Dirk MacTavish have all been unfairly tarnished. Mistakes were made, and a fine was paid. But Game Trails and Gregg Ritz have built a name of excellence and integrity in the industry, and these technical violations should not diminish that reputation. It is unfortunate that multiple inaccuracies have worked to do just that. Basic fairness dictates that those involved should be judged on the facts of record in this case, and those facts alone. "

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  • Derik Lee
    Man that is dissappointing that someone like that would do stupid stuff. It's just another situation in which people will see that and form an opinion about hunting and sportsmen, that paints a bad picture.

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  • rrmont
    Bo, I agree and I hope that you are right. I guess only time will tell, because you know that the Ohio DNR will be keeping an eye on them.

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  • Bo
    I see that they are closing their Ky operation and moving to Ohio.see It is sad when someone gets so focused on the taking of the deer that they lose all sense of right and wrong and this sounds like there was plenty of wrong. There are few things I enjoy more than hunting deer, but it is always following the laws of the state in which I am hunting.
    In some states they would have, in addition to the fines, lost all hunting privileges for 3-5 years and rightly so.
    Hopefully they learned their lesson and will not repeat this behavior again. I hope they're not moving to Ohio just to keep up their illegal operations.

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  • Anybody notice that Game Trails Outfitters was convicted of several misdemeanor game violations? Check out Kentucky DNR Website

    Anybody notice that Game Trails Outfitters was convicted of several misdemeanor game violations? Check out Kentucky DNR Website.



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