Men Sentenced for Shooting Big Game from Helicopter

Pictured from left are Inocente Sanchez, Cody Morganthaler and Eduardo Lopez, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Aerial hog hunting has become increasingly popular, but as of now it is the only type of hunting allowed to be done while on board an aircraft. Currently it is illegal to hunt big game animals any where in the United States with a helicopter. That did not stop these guys who are now paying the price.

According to the US Department of Justice, Four men have been sentenced after their involvement in illegal hunting from a helicopter in violation of the federal Airborne Hunting Act. Cody Morganthaler, 36, of Oklahoma, pleaded guilty along with Edelmiro Martinez, 33, Eduardo Lopez, 39, and Inocente Sanchez, 56, all of Laredo.

They told the judge that they were unaware that hunting from a helicopter was illegal, but the judge did not believe them sentenced them accordingly.

U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced Morganthaler, Martinez, and Lopez to the maximum allowed fine of $5,000, all of whom must also serve one year of probation. Sanchez was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and must also serve the year of probation. While on probation, all of the men will not be allowed to possess firearms for personal sporting purposes.

According to court records here is how everything went down.

Prior to the weekend of Oct. 14, 2017, Morganthaler booked a hunt at the Laredo Hunting Resort in Laredo, which Martinez owned. Lopez organized the hunt. A total of $12,000 was paid on Morganthaler’s behalf to hunt four exotic animals – an addax, a mouflon, an aoudad and a blackbuck antelope.
On Oct. 14, Morganthaler was able to locate, shoot and kill the addax and mouflon from the ground. Due to a time shortage, Lopez suggested Morganthaler shoot the remaining two animals from a helicopter. Morganthaler and Martinez agreed.
The following day, Sanchez piloted his helicopter with Morganthaler and Lopez as passengers. Morganthaler then used a rifle to locate, shoot and kill the aoudad and blackbuck antelope from within the helicopter for the purpose of trophy-hunting.

Well there you have it folks. If you want to hunt from a helicopter stick to wild pigs.