Maui helicopter pilot to be sentenced in deer case

Published: Sep. 13, 2012 at 8:20 AM HST
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HONOLULU (AP) - A Maui helicopter pilot faces sentencing for illegally flying deer to the Big Island.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang is scheduled to sentence Thomas Hauptman on Thursday.

Hauptman last month pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of illegally transporting wildlife. Prosecutors say he flew four axis deer to the Big Island in 2009 as part of an alleged scheme by hunters to establish a deer population there.

He faces up to a year in prison. His defense has suggested that he receive probation and fly 500 hours in his helicopter for the group fighting to eradicate axis deer from the Big Island.

Axis deer were introduced to Maui in the 1950s. Conservationists worry they could harm Big Island forests, farms and ranches if they become established there.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.