A poacher’s hotline has helped break a case of illegal hunting in southwest Iowa. Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Deb Howe says a Nebraska man, who lived in Iowa seven years ago, was using his old Iowa driver’s license to obtain hunting and fishing privileges in the state.
An anonymous call to the hotline provided the suspect’s name and claimed he was hunting deer in either Page or Taylor Counties. "Two counties is a wide area, but at least we had a little bit of information to go on," Howe said. "I always tell people just a little bit of information can go a long ways, and in this case, it certainly did."
The information was used to arrest 44 year old Rodger Blanchard of Bellevue, Nebraska.
"He is a resident of Nebraska," Howe explains, "so he should be obtaining nonresident privileges in Iowa." In actuality, Blanchard had no business possessing a gun.
Howe says the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assisted with the investigation because Blanchard is a convicted felon and is not allowed to carry a firearm. In addition to the felony charges, officers accuse Blanchard of killing a doe and a buck. Howe says the DNR is asking for $10,000 in restitution for both deer, plus fines of nearly $100,000.
Howe says the case proves the tip hotline does work. "You can actually remain anonymous and still be eligible for a reward," Howe says, "and this individual (who called) did not want a reward. He is a member of the hunting public and just felt this was wrong and wanted to turn this guy in." Three firearms, along with assorted ammunition, were seized from Blanchard – along with one mounted buck and packaged deer meat.