Famed Iditarod musher pleads guilty to elk poaching

Posted: Friday, June 07, 2002

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Four-time Iditarod sled dog race winner Doug Swingley pleaded guilty in Justice Court on Thursday to possessing an unlawfully killed spike elk.

Justice of the Peace Wally Jewell deferred sentencing in the poaching case for two years, fined Swingley $300 and ordered him to pay $1,000 in restitution. He also revoked Swingley's hunting privileges for two years.

Lewis and Clark County prosecutor Jorge Quintana said Swingley was found to be in possession of a young bull elk on Nov. 30 at his residence near Lincoln.

He was charged with shooting the animal during a closed season and possessing an unlawfully killed elk.

Swingley said Thursday that he was aiming at another animal and accidentally killed the spike elk.

This was the second time Swingley has been charged with a big game violation. Officials said he unlawfully possessed a moose in 1997, but the charge was dismissed because a key witness was unavailable to testify at trial.

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