The Ottumwa Courier

September 5, 2013

Turkey poacher convicted in Appanoose County

By MATT MILNER Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — CENTERVILLE — A Missouri man won’t be going hunting anytime soon after being convicted of poaching in Appanoose County.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the incident took place April 20 near Moulton. Conservation officers spotted a hunter who was spending more time texting on his phone than looking for game. As the officers continued their patrol, they saw two men come over a hill with shotguns, hunting packs and full camoflage.

Officer Jacob Fulk decided to check further. Matthew McCullah, 30, Cassville, Mo., opened his hunting pack, and Fulk found a turkey without a game tag.

McCullah told Fulk he was a guide and his client had killed a turkey. When a second bird came to the decoys, McCullah couldn’t help but take the shot. He admitted he did not have a license.

It was an expensive mistake. McCullah was charged with illegally taking a wild turkey, a $195 fine, not having a valid nonresident hunting license, a $195 fine, and not having a nonresident turkey tag, a $330 fine. He must also pay $200 in liquidated damages to the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund.

McCullah was worried about more than just the cost, though. He told officers he works as a freelance videographer for hunting shows and was concerned about how a poaching conviction might affect his ability to work.

McCullah will lose his hunting privileges for at least in a year in Iowa and the other 38 states which participate in the wildlife violator compact. The equipment used, including the shotgun, was seized.