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Topeka man sentenced for poaching record deer

Posted on September 4, 2012

Topeka, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka man will spend 15 consecutive weekends in jail and pay a $1,500 fine for killing a whitetail buck that would have set a state record if it had been shot legally and not out of season.

David Kent was sentenced Thursday to 30 days in jail, to be served on weekends. Along with the $1,500 fine, he will pay $8,000 in restitution to the owner of land in Osage County where he shot the deer in November. Kent also lost his hunting privileges for five years and had to surrender the deer's antlers and the gun that he used during the hunt, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/T1DpzD).

Kent pleaded guilty to four of eight original charges filed against him after he killed the 14-point buck. He claimed to have shot the deer in Nemaha County around Dec. 1, while legally hunting during the state's firearms deer season.

The deer was unofficially scored at 198 7/8 inches of antler on the Boone & Crockett system, which would have broken the state record for a typical whitetail deer shot with a gun. The record of 198 2/8 was set by Dennis Finger in Nemaha County in 1974.

Kent got into trouble in January after he took the deer's antlers to the Monster Buck Classic in Topeka, where he was recognized for having the largest typical antlers. Wildlife agents compared the antlers to a photo that showed the buck in Osage County about 100 miles south of where Kent said he shot it.

Law enforcement officials say Kent later admitted to illegally killing the deer.

Osage County attorney Brandon Jones said Kent pleaded guilty to criminal hunting, hunting outside of legal hours, illegal hunting during a closed season and using an illegal caliber while hunting big game.

The case drew attention because Kent was present when his brother, Thomas Kent, was involved in a fatal hunting accident in 2007 that involved illegal hunting.

Thomas Kent fired a high-powered rifle from a vehicle into what he thought was a flock of geese in a Lyon County field. The ``geese'' were decoys and the shot killed 18-year-old Beau Arndt, of rural Americus, who was hiding in the decoys while hunting with friends.

Thomas Kent served more than two years in prison. David Kent was not charged in that case.

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