I am pleased to report that an investigation into poaching-related violations during the 2020 fall hunting season resulted in convictions in Monroe County Circuit Court.
The case serves as a valuable reminder for all to know and follow state hunting regulations. Trying to circumvent regulations not only violates resources, but also all hunters who follow the law and act ethically.
This case dates back to October and November 2020 and involved four Monroe County residents convicted by the court of offenses related to deer and small game poaching. I was joined in the investigation by conservation wardens Patrick Seybert, Dale Hochhausen, Trevor Tracey, Shawna McDowell, Meghan Jensen, Matt Groppi and Clayton Peters and with the assistance of the Vernon County Sheriff’s Deputy , William Zirk.
I also want to thank Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Charles Betthauser for the success of the plea deals.
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Our investigation revealed that the four individuals were driving and shining for deer on city roads and county highways in the Leon, Melvina and Cashton areas. The group repeatedly discharged a .22 caliber firearm within 50 feet of the center of the road at numerous antlerless deer, bucks and small game. Some of the small game and deer have gone astray. Some animals were left to rot, while others were scavenged and eaten. The investigation also revealed that some deer were unregistered and that registrations for several males had been tampered with.
Burning deer and unloading firearms at night within 50 feet of the road on private land unknown to the shooter is very dangerous. In this case, fortunately, no one was injured or killed. However, it is always a possibility.
This case also involved thrill-killing wild animals, waste of natural resources, and failure to follow established rules and regulations. These regulations are in place to keep everyone safe and ensure fair wildlife hunting.
Three of the four individuals were convicted of discharging a firearm from or across a highway and unlawfully pointing deer. Each was sentenced to a three-year revocation of Chapter 29 privileges and approvals and a fine. One of them was ordered to confiscate his rifle with scope and searchlight and two eight-point dollars. Another was ordered to give up a dollar 11 points.
The fourth individual was convicted of unlawfully robbing wildlife and was sentenced to a three-year revocation of Chapter 29 privileges and approvals and a fine.
Moral of the story: Be safe, obey the laws, enjoy your time outdoors, and come home with gripping hunting stories.
If you have information about natural resource violations, you can report it confidentially by calling or texting our BREACHING HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847- 9367. The hotline is operational 24/7. Trained staff relay information to conservation custodians.
Matt Modjeski is MNR’s Director of Conservation for Monroe County.