Montana Man Sentenced For Wildlife Crime, Again
A federal judge recently sentenced a Montana man for a 2021 wildlife crime and ordered him to spend 60 days in jail for violating probation in a previous similar crime, according to federal court records.
Joshua Anders Rae, 38, of Bozeman, Montana, was sentenced on Oct. 24 for the unlawful transportation, sale, receipt, acquisition of illegally possessed wildlife in 2021, as part of the punishment handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson.
Rae was indicted on March 17, 2022, and pleaded guilty to this count on Aug. 4.
Rae did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Two other counts -- violating a closure order to protect special biological communities and unlawfully possessing animal parts -- were dismissed at sentencing as part of his plea agreement.
The judge also banned Rae from the National Forest System lands, National Parks, the National Elk Refuge and U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands for five years except for necessary travel across state and federal highways.
Rae will lose all hunting privileges worldwide in accord with the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact for five years.
Johnson ordered him to participate in a cognitive-behavioral treatment program.
The judge also sentenced him to 60 days in prison for violating the terms of his probation for the conviction of a similar crime in 2019 -- possessing 104 pounds of elk antlers -- in an incident in 2016.
In that case, Anders also was banned from the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, banned from hunting for five years, ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution and violate no laws.
Which he did with the new case, according to federal court records.
On April 30, 2021, U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers were patrolling on foot between Flat Creek Creek and the Gros Ventre River in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
The area was closed until May 1 to reduce the stress on wintering wildlife.
The officers saw Rae and a campfire in the closed area, where he was sawing elk antlers into short sections and creating a concealed cache for them.
They announced their presence and recognized Rae from previous interactions, and determined he was on federal probation from the 2019 conviction.
The officers seized Rae's backpack and the illegally collected antlers, and escorted him from the area.
Rae owns the Montana-based Oldwestantlers.com, which is an online business for selling cut antler sections for dog chews. Based on prices in advertising from the website, the antler pieces had a retail value between $2,156 and $2,464, according to federal court records.
After obtaining a warrant, the officers searched Rae's backpack that contained a cell phone and GPS device.
The GPS device contained latitude and longitude waypoints hear the northeast corner of the winter wildlife closure on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and those were dated April 30, 2021.
The phone contained voicemails from private and commercial customers who wanted to buy antlers from Rae's business.
Because of this evidence, the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office filed a motion to revoke Rae's probation, and Judge Johnson granted it on Oct. 24.
On Nov. 22, Johnson will conduct a hearing about the sentencing for revocation.