Case Snapshot
Case ID: 7232
Classification: Shooting
Animal: goat
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Drugs or alcohol involved
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Wednesday, Aug 31, 2005

County: Pennington

Disposition: Alleged

» Jason Miller
» Phillip Larson

The illegal shooting in the summer of 2005 of a mountain goat in the Black Hills has resulted in criminal charges against two men.

Jason Miller, 22, is charged with illegal big-game possession and Philip Larson, 23, has been charged with illegal possession of a big-game animal and killing a mountain goat without a license in a closed season.

The misdemeanor charges against the Rapid City men carry a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. They also could face civil penalties of up to $10,000. "South Dakota statute places the value to the state of a mountain goat at $10,000," said Bruce Nachtigall, a regional law-enforcement specialist for the state Game, Fish and Parks Department. "This is a very important big-game animal, with a limited population and limited opportunity for hunting. I dont think they had any clue how valuable this animal was," Nachtigall said.

A restricted hunting season is permitted by the state in parts of Pennington and Custer counties. Last year, the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission authorized two permits for mountain goats. Each carries a $255 fee. Chad Sayles, a conservation for the GF&P, said mountain goats are a high-priority trophy for those who hunt big game. "People travel all over and apply for licenses for 25 years to get a chance to shoot a mountain goat like this one," he said. "This animal was 7 to 9 years old. It would have been somebodys trophy."

Last summer, Larson and Miller were in an area south of Rockerville that is called "Hippy Hole," said Sayles. "They were camping, drinking, having a party," Sayles said. "A few stayed up, watched the sun come up, took a little hike and saw the animal. They took a pot shot at it. They didnt think they could kill it, but they did." GF&P officers arrested Larson and Miller after getting an anonymous tip in October 2005, officials said. "Thats pretty much what did it," Nachtigall said. "Without the calls, we wouldnt have been able to make this case." Authorities said that when he was questioned, Larson admitted shooting the goat and allowed a search. Officers found a .22 caliber rifle in a shed and goat horns under a bush. They butchered and ate some of the goat and disposed of the carcass near Rapid Regional Airport, Nachtigall said.


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