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Residents from Woodbury, Bayport fined for poaching Montana antelope

A Woodbury resident is among a group of hunters who recently pleaded guilty to illegally hunting antelope in Montana, the state's fishing and wildlife department announced Monday.

John Lochner, 44, of Woodbury and three other Twin Cities men and a Montana man were ordered in March to pay $8,540 in fines and forfeit their privileges to hunt and trap in Montana for two years after they pled guilty to poaching seven antelope from 2005 to 2007.

The group was originally charged with illegally killing 17 antelope after U.S. border officials discovered evidence of their poaching during a stop at the Canada-North Dakota border, the Montana Fishing and Wildlife Department stated in a press release.

Border officials searched the party's vehicle as the group was returning from a separate waterfowl hunting trip, the report stated. A search of the vehicle revealed a camera with pictures of harvested antelope that didn't appear to be properly tagged. When questioned the men said the antelope were killed in Montana, the report stated.

From 2005 to 2007, the group would receive antelope licenses good in one district, then hunt illegally in another district, said Tom Flowers, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional investigator.

"This is an important case because this was premeditated, organized and an abuse of our natural resources," Flowers said.

Lochner pleaded guilty to taking an antelope in the wrong district, two counts of unlawful possession of an antelope, two counts of taking an antelope in the wrong district by accountability and unlawful possession of an antelope by accountability.

The accountability charges are from Lochner taking responsibility for his teenage son's actions.

Two St. Paul men and Adrian Marsden, 62, of Bayport, who were in the hunting party, also pleaded guilty to the charges.