McPherson hunting guide pleads no contest

8/3/2013

By AMY BICKEL

By AMY BICKEL

Special to The Telegram

An area hunting guide pleaded no contest to criminal hunting charges in Reno County District Court Wednesday after taking a group of hunters and an outdoor television crew on property he allegedly didn't have permission to hunt.

Adam Gilkey, 30, of McPherson, was fined $250 plus $96 in court costs, according to court documents. He operates High Caliber Outdoors, which features waterfowl hunts, as well as hunting opportunities for turkey, coyotes and bobcats.

Gilkey declined comment to The Hutchinson News on Thursday.

The incident occurred Dec. 8, documents showed. Gilkey was leading a group that included high-profile hunters Bruce Horrell, 68, of Michigan, and Brad Harris, 26, of St. Paul, whose hunting show "American Birdhunter" airs on the Outdoor Channel.

The group of eight was decoying geese into a field near Obee Road and Fourth Avenue, which sits to the west of sandpits owned by a sand and gravel company, said A.J. Meyer, a natural resource officer with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Meyer said the landowner called a KDWPT official and told him he hadn't given permission for the group to hunt there. According to the Reno County Appraiser's Office, Dan and Nancy Frank own the property.

Meyer said he could see the hunting party from Fourth Avenue. The group was still in the middle of the late-afternoon hunt when Meyer arrived.

"They were in a wheat field just south of Fourth," he said. "The wheat field was (the birds') closest food."

All eight hunters were charged with criminal hunting.

Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder dismissed charges on Wednesday for all but Gilkey, said District Court Judge Tim Chambers, who accepted Gilkey's no-contest plea and found him guilty of the charge.

Chambers said the reasoning behind dismissing the charges was the other hunters were relying on the expertise of the guide to take them to a legal area to hunt.

Besides, Horrell and Harris, charges were dismissed for Benjamin Webster, 24, who is listed on the High Caliber Outdoors website as a member of the guide crew. Charges also were dismissed for Jason E. Vilt, 23, of St. Paul; Adam D. Myers, 24, of Altamont; Brent A. Tilton, 28, of Hutchinson; and Kelly S. Blomberg, 20, of McPherson, court records show.

Meyer said there were at least two others who were filming the hunt. They were not carrying guns and were not ever charged.

High Caliber Outdoors posted a photo of Horrell and Harris' Kansas hunt on American Birdhunter's Facebook page. It appeared from the posting that the show aired in May.

The photo shows four hunters posing behind 20 geese and 18 ducks. It is not clear where the photo was shot or if it was from the outing on the Frank property.

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