CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A northeast Iowa man is going to federal prison over illegal deer hunts.
Cory Gene Fritzler, 46 of Lansing, has been sentenced to two months behind bars, two months of home detention, one year of supervised release, and must pay a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa says Fritzler operated a guiding and outfitting business in Northeastern Iowa known as “NE Iowa Outfitters” and, during the 2015 hunting season, Fritzler agreed to conduct an illegal hunt with two hunters from Florida who were actually undercover law enforcement officers. Fritzler was also accused of accepting $3,450 from Louisiana hunters to guide and outfit their illegal hunts during the 2016 hunting season. Authorities say Fritzler instructed the Louisiana hunters to tell people, falsely, that they were hunting in a public area in Wisconsin to hide the fact that they were illegally hunting on Fritzler's ground in Iowa.
Federal authorities say the northeast Iowa region is nationally recognized as a prime geographic area for hunting mature whitetail buck deer with hunters from all over the United States traveling there to hunt high-value, mature buck deer with large antlers. The demand for out-of-state hunting licenses, however, greatly exceeds the supply.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.