Operation Warrior’s Revenge;
Taking down the poachers from Down Under
By Idaho District Conservatkion Officer Marshall Haynes
The thank you letters and comments of appreciation kept coming in from all over. The letters above are just a sample of the people expressing their gratitude that the poaching by a small group of individuals from the other side of the world was over and they would not be ravaging Idaho’s wildlife anymore. Most meaningful perhaps were the direct comments from the hunters who witnessed the takedown at the trailhead. “I can’t believe that you finally caught these guys! They have been doing this for years. Great job, thank you!”
Indeed, those words were unfortunately very true. I first heard about “the Aussies” who hunted in the upper Boise River drainage early in my game warden career; in the mid 1990’s. Information would trickle in that a group of very hard core Australian hunters would kill elk before the season started, leave most of the meat on the hill to waste, and then come out of the woods after opening day, claiming the animals were killed lawfully. This group was thought to hunt in some of the most remote and rugged country bordering the Sawtooth Wilderness area.
We heard stories from other hunters who reported “Aussies” sleeping under tarps at 8,000 feet and running all over the mountains wearing shorts in late October and November. Several attempts were made by game wardens before me to learn more or catch the Aussies, but documenting enough evidence to take to court in a wilderness environment is a difficult task.
Each time a piece of information came in about who these guys were and how they illegally hunted, we filed it away in our memory banks. In 2010, I finally had enough intelligence information to justify a lengthy and manpower intensive investigation. Operation Warrior’s Revenge turned out to be just that.