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Two men charged after allegedly killing moose illegally file photo
POCATELLO — Two local men face multiple charges after they allegedly killed a bull moose they claimed they were euthanizing after it had been mortally injured in a vehicle collision.
William Ford O’Grady, 28, and Talon Jo Willis, 23, have each been charged with a felony for the unlawful killing or possession of an animal and a misdemeanor for hunting a game animal from a motorized vehicle, court documents show.
Senior Conservation Officers with Idaho Fish and Game were tasked with investigating the killing of a mature bull moose on Sept. 24, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Officers began their investigation at a home on the 1600 block of Cottage Avenue in Pocatello. O’Grady, a resident, said he and a friend were out scouting deer when he hit the moose with his truck, the affidavit says.
O’Grady told officers that the moose was critically injured, so he asked Willis to shoot it.
O’Grady first said that Willis shot 15 round at the moose before he took two additional shots at it. The men’s account of the evening changed several times during discussions with officers. In one retelling of the story, the men said the moose was shot four times.
The men said they salvaged the meat and head, and that the hide had been given to the Bannock County Museum.
Officers pushed for details and Willis said he and O’Grady were out scouting on Mink Creek Road in separate trucks when the moose walked into the roadway and O’Grady hit its rear with a vehicle.
O’Grady said he and Willis called the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office to report the accident. A deputy responded and took pictures of the moose and the truck for a police report, they said. O’Grady also said there had been a salvage form filed online on his and Willis’ behalf.
According to the salvage form, the men claimed they shot the moose before the deputy arrived, the affidavit says. However, the men told the fish and game officers that it was the deputy who instructed the men to shoot it.
Specifics of how the moose died were also tweaked across several retellings of the incident, the affidavit says.
Officers asked to see the damage on the truck and O’Grady showed them where the driver’s side headlight had been popped out and a portion of the front bumper had been pushed in.
The affidavit notes that the front end of the truck was caked with dried mud, but that none of the mud appeared to be disturbed which would suggest a recent collision.
O’Grady told the officers that the mud had been from prior to the collision, according to the affidavit.
Officers received permission from O’Grady to have an Idaho State Police crash reconstructionist examine his truck on Sept. 27.
After getting O’Grady’s account of the incident, reviewing photos provided by the fish and game officers and examining the truck, the trooper told the officers that in his expert opinion, “the truck had not hit an animal that night,” the affidavit says.
O’Grady called the investigating officer the following day to say he’d found moose hair in his license plate. The officer responded to O’Grady’s home and pulled three moose hairs from the license plate. However, he noted in the affidavit that the hairs pulled easily enough that they would have come out while driving — or during pressure washing, which O’Grady told the officer he had done since the collision.
“It was my belief that these hairs had been planted,” the officer noted in the affidavit.
On Oct. 6, a veterinarian at Alameda Pet Hospital examined the confiscated carcass. According to the affidavit, the moose did not show any signs of a collision involving a vehicle, only injuries consistent with it being shot.
Both men were arrested, booked and released on Jan. 30.
Though O’Grady and Willis have been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean they committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
If they are found guilty, both men could face up to five years and six months in prison, as much as $51,000 in fines and a one-year revocation of their hunting licenses.
Both are scheduled to be in court for arraignment on Feb. 14.
The post Two men charged after allegedly killing moose illegally appeared first on East Idaho News.

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