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Trial canceled for hunting guide

Felony charges to be dismissed

A man who was operating as a hunting guide without a license and was facing four felony charges of exploitation of wildlife, has had his case dismissed.

Randal Scott Layman Jr., 28, Fayetteville, Tenn., was scheduled to go to trial Tuesday in Northwest District Court in Watford City but that didn’t happen. According to the court office in Divide County, where the charges originated, it was understood that the charges were dismissed although no formal order for doing so had been received by the Divide County Clerk of Court’s Office by mid-afternoon Tuesday.

The case against Layman began Oct. 14, 2018, when a Divide County Sheriff’s Department deputy made a stop on a vehicle parked on a rural road. Conversation with an occupant revealed he was hunting with an outfitter identified as Layman. Investigation revealed that Layman did not have a license to guide in North Dakota.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed with the court, Layman had been advertising guided services in North Dakota through Elk River Outfitters on Facebook and Instagram and had been doing so since at least 2014. Layman was alleged to have several clients within a two-year period which elevated charges against him to felony status.

Three of the seven charges against Layman were dismissed on Nov. 14, 2018, including harvesting a deer out of season and exceeding daily limits of sandhill cranes and ducks. The remaining four charges against Layman were to be decided by jury trial. It was those charges that were scheduled to be heard before Judge Robin Schmidt Tuesday.

Each of the felony charges against Layman carried with them the possibility of five years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. In 2016 Layman paid a $100 fine in Divide County on a charge of illegally transporting game.

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