Pair Gets Record Fine; Dumbest Poachers Award
Hunters like to boast. One of the biggest draws of killing a trophy is showing it off to your buddies, whether it's gathered around the tailgate or on the Web.
Apparently, some poachers like to do the same.
Two students at the University of Toledo have become Ohio's dumbest poachers following the events of Oct. 9 that led to a penalty of more than $15,000 in fines and costs, including a Ohio record restitution penalty of $13,277 under state law.
Dan Mahoney and Justin Angles, both 20, illegally harvested a rather famous 15-point buck in the Side Cut Metropark near Toledo. Wildlife investigators from Ohio's Wildlife District 2 said the buck was quite popular with photographers and outdoor enthusiasts in the area. State biologists had tagged the buck, who was known as "Stickers" to some, as 8 ½ to 9 ½ years old.
After taking it with a crossbow at around 12:30 a.m., the two students bragged about their kill around town, parading the buck in front of interested onlookers at a local Bass Pro Shops the next day.
Angles (pictured above), who did the shooting, later posted a picture of himself posing with the buck on various Web sites, the most shocking of which was the Ohio Division of Wildlife site.
Local photographers quickly noticed the large non-typical was missing and soon after, photos of Angles and "Stickers" showed up online. Not too smart. Investigators put the pieces together quickly.
There's nothing like killing a celebrity deer illegally, showing it all over town and then posting photographic evidence on the Web site of those who would investigate the crime. Priceless.
Confused Pennsylvania Duo Shoots Cows; Gets Best Excuse Award
One of the most astoundingly stupid poaching tales of all time comes by way of Fayette County, Pa. A place where either the deer are giants or the cows are small, brown and have bushy white tails.
Last year the Associated Press reported that Pennsylvania State Police had apprehended two stepbrothers who shot and killed four cows after dusk on the first day of deer season.
Police said the men used a spotlight to find the animals and claimed they mistook the cattle for white-tailed deer. Police also reported spent rifle shells were found 50 to 200 yards from the animals.
Ronald Dwayne Regish III, 21, of Dunbar, and Allen Kessler, 22, of Normalville, were charged with agricultural vandalism, criminal conspiracy, criminal mischief and cruelty to animals.
It sounds odd that Kessler, the older of the duo, was from Normalville-normal these two were not. But congratulations to Ronald and Allen for coming up with the dumbest excuse ever conjured by a poacher. Period.
Kentucky Man More Than Just a Poacher; Gets Multi-Tasking Award
When the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources received a tip about illegal deer kills in Rowan County, conservation officers found themselves investigating much more than just a few poached whitetails. Kevin Watkins, 35, was the target of the tip and was said to have killed two bucks illegally.
Conservation officers Glenn Kitchen and Andrew Black received the tip and quickly set out to secure a search warrant for Watkins' Morehead residence.
"We were informed that he was a big-time poacher," Kitchen said. "We just didn't know how big."
Capt. Paul Teague and Conservation Officer Loren Clark joined Kitchen in the search, while two other officers served a warrant at the home of Watkins' father.
The officers seized 94 sets of deer antlers, seven marijuana plants, 16 bags of processed marijuana totaling nearly 1½ pounds, more than 100 pills in plastic bags, four sets of weighing scales, 19 firearms and $1,251 in the search.
In February, Watkins was slapped with a total of 48 charges, including illegally killing deer, cultivating and trafficking in marijuana and drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, pills in improper containers and trapping without a license.
"It makes you feel good," Kitchen said. "When you take a poacher out of the woods it is always a good thing, but this one was special."