On March 1, an Idaho man was sentenced for his elaborate—and illegal—attempt to possess the head of a roadkilled bighorn sheep. According to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) press release, the man, whose identity was not released, claimed to have salvaged the bighorn’s parts from a roadkilled sheep in Fremont County, Idaho. In the Gem State, individuals may legally salvage parts of roadkilled wildlife but some species, including bighorn sheep, require inspection by an IDFG agent.

“The salvage rule in Idaho provides opportunity for individuals to recover and possess certain wildlife killed by accidental vehicle collisions so that parts of those animals can be utilized,” said Upper Snake Regional Conservation Officer Barry Cummings. “Fortunately, we have seen very few individuals abusing the law and using it to unlawfully smuggle wildlife across the border.” 

But in this case, the IDFG immediately sensed something was “suspicious.” The agency did not say what tipped them off, but officials began investigating soon after the man brought the roadkilled sheep into their Coeur d’ Alene office. Working with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, IDFG investigators were able to figure out that the individual had actually picked up the bighorn’s head near Ennis, Montana—and not Idaho.

In Montana, individuals are allowed to salvage parts from roadkilled deer, elk, moose, and antelope, but not bighorns, which is why the culprit attempted to falsify his wildlife mortality report. 

Read Next: A Montana Man Cloned and Illegally Bred Giant Hybrid Sheep for Captive Hunting

The attempted deceit led to serious punishments. On March 1, 2024, the man was sentenced in a Kootenai County court. He received a $10,000 civil penalty, $1,307 in restitution for DNA processing, two years of supervised probation, and a two-year hunting ban.

“We place a high value on our wildlife resources in Idaho and our officers work tirelessly to protect them,” added Cummings. “I do appreciate the court taking this case seriously and want to thank all of the agencies involved for their efforts.”