116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — An Allamakee County man who guided and outfitted illegal deer hunts was sentenced last week to two months in federal prison, two months on home detention and was fined $5,000.
Cory Gene Fritzler, 46, of Lansing, pleaded in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy in March. According to the plea and sentencing evidence, Fritzler operated a guide and outfitting business, NE Iowa Outfitters, in northeast Iowa. This region is nationally recognized as a prime geographic area for hunting mature whitetail buck deer.
Hunters travel to this area from across the country to hunt high-value, mature buck deer with large antlers, according to the prosecution. The demand for out-of-state hunting licenses “greatly” exceeds the supply.
During the 2015 hunting season, Fritzler agreed to conduct an illegal hunt with two hunters from Florida who were actually undercover law enforcement officers, according to evidence. The cost of the illegal five-day hunt was $3,450 per person, plus an additional $500 for each illegal license that Fritzler provided.
Fritzler recruited others to participate in the illegal hunting scheme by applying for and receiving Iowa hunting licenses and tags to cover the deer.
That same hunting season, Fritzler legally provided guiding and outfitting services to two non-resident hunters from Louisiana, according to court documents. In 2015, one of the hunters shot a valuable “double drop tine buck” but wounded this deer in its backside only. When the hunters did not obtain out-of-state licenses the next year to obtain this deer, known as “the Monster Buck,” Fritzler accepted $3,450 from the hunters to guide and outfit their illegal hunts during the 2016 hunting season, according to prosecutors.
Fritzler instructed the Louisiana hunters to tell people they were hunting in a public area in Wisconsin to hide the fact that they were illegally hunting on Fritzler's ground in Iowa. When questioned by law enforcement, Fritzler and the Louisiana hunters falsely stated they were hunting in Wisconsin.
In the following months, Fritzler encouraged the Louisiana hunters to continue to “stick to their story” as law enforcement was investigating the case, according to evidence.
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams sentenced Fritzler to the prison and home detention and ordered him to serve one year of supervised release following his prison term.
Fritzler was released on the bond previously set and will surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date set later.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Comments: (319) 398-8318; firstname.lastname@example.org