RINGWOOD, N.J. -- A Ringwood man on Thursday admitted transporting an American black bear that he illegally killed across state lines to New York and then covering up the crime by staging a fake kill site using the animal's insides.
Martin Kaszycki, 36, told a federal judge in Newark that it was out of hunting season in October 2012 when he killed the 450-pound male bear with a bow and arrow from an elevated tree stand near his business in Newfoundland, in violation of New Jersey state law.
It became a federal crime -- specifically: a violation of the Lacy Act -- when he drove the dead animal across state lines to New York and told a weigh station employee that he bagged the bear in the New York section of Sterling Forest, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
Kaszycki said he then drove the hide and skull to a Pennsylvania taxidermy shop to arrange for the parts to be mounted for a trophy display.
N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife officers later confronted Kaszycki, who the U.S. attorney said told them he'd killed the bear in New York.
Later that night, Kaszycki drove the bear's guts of the bear to Sterling State Forest in New York and staged the bogus kill site, Fishman said.
Confronted again by state authorities, he brought inspectors to the site, he said.
As part of his plea agreement, Kaszycki must pay a fine of $5,000 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lacey Act Reward Fund. He must also forfeit the skull and hide and pay $1,250 to the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge for the care and release of orphaned and injured American black bears in New Jersey.
The judge released Kaszycki on an unsecured $10,000 bond with the condition that he surrender his hunting license and refrain from hunting pending a Feb. 17 sentencing.
Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, as well as the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife. Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen P. O’Leary of Fishman's Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
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