Three men charged with violating federal hunting laws pleaded guilty recently to illegally hunting whitetail deer on Fort Riley where explosives are discharged during training exercises.

U.S. Attorney for Kansas Stephen McAllister says Gregory Frikken, James Nunley and Michael J. Smith each admitted to trespassing on federal property and illegally harvesting trophy whitetail deer in violation of the Lacey Act. McAllister says the three men knowingly entered a prohibited part of the Army base for unlawful and selfish reasons, calling the men foolish for potentially putting themselves in danger.

An investigator’s affidavit alleged the hunters disregarded the fact the area was off limits to hunters, entering before daylight and leaving after dark several times between 2015 and 2019, through a washout where a creek went under a perimeter fence.

Recovered during the course of the investigation was evidence including deer mounts, antlers, phone data and equipment allegedly used to harvest eight whitetail deer, three of which are considered trophy class. Investigating agencies included the Directorate of Emergency Services at Fort Riley, the Fort Riley Game Warden, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, New York State Environmental Conservation Office-Office of Law Enforcement and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

While the three men avoided prison time, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale sentenced the three hunters to pay approximately $11,000 in restitution to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism and $10,000 fines to the Lacey Act fund.

The three men also had their hunting privileges stripped for three years and agreed to forfeit all property seized as part of the investigation.

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