Murdo, South Dakota — Six northwest Iowa hunters are in trouble with the law in South Dakota.
According to court records, the hunters are accused of swapping deer tags.
The records say the individuals, 53-year-old Randall Kats and 23-year-old Jonathan LeLoux both of Rock Valley; 55-year-old Corwin Harthoorn, 25-year-old Colton Harthoorn, and 25-year-old Kristi Harthoorn all of Doon; and 30-year-old Jeremy Hilt of George were cited in July on charges related to the improper tagging of multiple bucks in Jones County, South Dakota.
Murdo is the county seat of Jones County.
The Mitchell, South Dakota Daily Republic reports that:
According to court documents, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources officer began an investigation in April 2014 after taxidermy records in Doon, Iowa, showed Randall Kats had a mule deer buck mounted on Nov. 23, 2012, but a search of South Dakota’s licensing database showed Kats was only issued an “any whitetail” deer tag in 2012.
As the investigation continued, authorities realized the other five individuals were involved in a series of tag swapping that occurred in 2011 and 2012, with another incident in 2015.
Corwin Harthoorn was charged with two counts of transferring a license, in which he allegedly provided big-game licenses to his daughter-in-law, Kristi Harthoorn, in 2011, and to Randall Kats in 2012. He is also charged with unlawful possession of game after allegedly shooting a whitetail buck on his property in Jones County and placing Kats’ tag on the deer.
Colton Harthoorn was charged with two counts of transferring a license by providing his big-game license to Jeremy Hilt in 2011 and to Kristi Harthoorn in 2012. Court documents state Colton was also the person who placed Corwin’s tag on Kristi’s deer in 2011.
Kristi Harthoorn was charged with two counts of hunting big game without a license, in which she allegedly killed whitetail bucks in 2011 and 2012.
Randall Kats was charged with two counts of transferring a license by providing his big-game license to Corwin Harthoorn in 2012 and to Jonathan LeLoux in 2015, and one count of hunting big game without a license in which he allegedly shot a mule buck in 2012.
Jeremy Hilt was charged with hunting big game without a license by killing a mule buck in 2011. Jonathan LeLoux faces the same charge for allegedly shooting a whitetail buck in 2015.
All the charges are Class 1 misdemeanors, each punishable upon conviction by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. The individuals are all scheduled to make their initial appearances in court in September.
The Mitchell, South Dakota Daily Republic wrote portions of this story.