- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FOSSIL, Ore. (AP) - Authorities say an unregistered hunting guide service run by a Bend man from his ranch in Wheeler County bagged dozens of elk illegally, and several buffalo from a neighboring ranch without permission.

Wheeler County District Attorney Daniel Ousley said Wednesday that to date, 10 people have pleaded guilty or no contest, and paid a total of more than $152,000 in fines, restitution, and forfeitures. Charges are pending against 13 others.

Ousley says 43-year-old Alan Roy Aronson of Bend never registered as a hunting guide, and solicited clients through Craigslist and by word of mouth, telling them they didn’t need a hunting license or tag. Those that got caught ended up paying $15,000 in restitution for taking a trophy elk illegally.

Authorities say Aronson pleaded guilty last month to three misdemeanor counts of failure to register as an outfitter and guide, and two felony counts of theft. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, lost his hunting license for life, and is paying $66,050 in fines and restitution. He also forfeited a pickup truck and two all-terrain vehicles.

State police fish and game enforcement officers got an anonymous tip back in October 2012 that someone named Alan was running an illegal hunting guide service in Wheeler County. Over the course of the investigation, troopers from across the state interviewed more than 100 people.

Aronson’s wife, Emily Aronson, pleaded no contest to killing a trophy bull elk without a tag, authorities said. She lost her hunting license for three years, and was ordered to pay fines and restitution of $15,350.

Ousley said Aronson’s 160-acre ranch was surrounded by 20,000 acres of other ranches, where he took clients to hunt. One of the ranches ran some buffalo in addition to other livestock.

Investigators searching properties in Deschutes and Wheeler County linked to Aronson seized documents, a computer, untagged trophy elk and deer mounts, vehicles, a rifle, and three freshly skinned buffalo hides, authorities said.

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