LINCOLN, Neb. -- A Georgia man who had been hunting in Nebraska was sentenced to seven years of probation for violating the Lacey Act, which combats illegal trafficking of wildlife, fish, and plants.

40-year-old Daniel Morris was sentenced Friday in federal court in Lincoln. He was also ordered to pay of $5,000 fine, in addition to $2,000 of restitution.

A joint investigation conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Law Enforcement Division, determined that in October of 2020, Morris traveled to Noble Outdoors, a commercial big game guiding and outfitting business located in North Platte, to conduct an archery mule deer hunt.  During the hunt, Morris unlawfully shot a mule deer and subsequently transported trophy parts of the deer out of the state for taxidermy services in Georgia.

Morris admitted to traveling to Noble Outdoors with two other hunting partners to hunt mule deer during the archery season.  During the hunt, Morris unlawfully shot a mule deer buck from the roadway with a Ruger All-American 6.5 Creedmoor rifle allegedly provided and directed by Noble Outdoors guide and owner Dustin Noble. Under Nebraska state law, shooting from the road and use of a firearm to take deer during the archery hunting season are both prohibited. Morris later unlawfully dumped and discarded the deer carcass into a public waterway near North Platte, according to court records.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Morris surrendered and abandoned the antlers and other parts of the mule deer taken in 2020 and an undisclosed additional number of taxidermy mounts originating from mule deer taken during previous hunts at Noble Outdoors in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Friday's conviction marks the first federal sentencing involving the ongoing prosecution of numerous defendants related to violations allegedly committed by Noble Outdoors and its owner, associates, and clients. To date, four additional defendants have pleaded guilty in Nebraska state court and have been sentenced and ordered to pay a total of $12,500 in fines and liquidated damages for violations related to shooting deer from the road; dumping carcasses in waters of the state; hunting without permission; and improperly checking or registering pronghorn.