MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Rep. Pete Nielsen of Mountain Home has been charged with poaching an elk in southwest Idaho. The Republican lawmaker entered a not guilty plea to possessing illegal wildlife on Wednesday in 4th District Magistrate Court. Officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game say Nielsen possessed a spiked elk on Dec. 29. Officials say Nielsen could only legally kill an antlerless elk. Nielsen's next court date is in April.

The 77-year-old Nielsen has served in the Idaho Statehouse since 2002. Nielsen sits as vice-chair on the House Education Committee. He declined to comment to The Associated Press.