A Tennessee man has lost his hunting privileges for 18 months and was fined more than $4,000 for acting as a hunting outfitter in North Dakota without a license.
Robert “Adam” Whitten, 40, of Counce, Tenn., was charged Oct. 24, 2015, by district game warden Erik Schmidt, Linton, after Schmidt followed up on a complaint of unlawfully placed “No Hunting” signs on private property.
Through his investigation, Schmidt determined Whitten, who had acted as an outfitter in the past in Tennessee, was staying on a rented farmstead in southwestern Emmons County for most of the month of October. Prior to his arrival in North Dakota, Whitten took money from nonresident hunters for what he was advertising as a place to stay and access to 5,000 acres of hunting land for waterfowl and upland game.
In North Dakota it is illegal to act as a guide or outfitter without first securing a license through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Licensed outfitters in North Dakota are required to pass a written test, be certified in first aid, and carry liability insurance, among other requirements. The definition of outfitting in North Dakota includes providing facilities or services and receiving compensation from a third party for the use of land for the conduct of outdoor recreational activities including hunting.
Schmidt charged Whitten with two counts of outfitting without a license, both Class A misdemeanors. The maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanors in North Dakota is a $3,000 fine and one year imprisonment.
Under a plea agreement approved by South Central District judge Thomas Schneider, Whitten was required to pay $3,325 in fines and court costs, with $1,000 suspended for a period of two years for the first count and $3,025 in fines and court costs with $1,000 suspended for a period of two years for the second count.
In addition to fines and fees, Whitten had his hunting privileges suspended for 18 months and was placed on unsupervised probation for one year. Because North Dakota is a member of the North American Wildlife Violator Compact, Whitten could potentially lose hunting privileges in other compact states.