Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Judge sets poachers back $10,000

Editor

Marinette, Wis. Wardens finally nabbed three deer poachers
they’ve been chasing around since the early 1990s and the judge
fined the trio a total of $10,251.

The judge also gave three-year license revocations to two of the
poachers; the third poacher got a one-year license revocation.

The three men appeared before Marinette County Circuit Court
Judge Timothy Duket, who accepted a plea bargain worked out by
Marinette County assistant district attorney Gale Mattison and
Brian Ausmus.

Charged were Thomas A. Styczynski, 44, of Krakow, Joseph
Lukasik, 37, of Pulaski, and James Lukasik, 28, also of Pulaski.
The three men were found guilty of hunting deer during a closed
season, hunting deer with the aid of artificial light, obstructing
an officer, and an additional charge of possession of an untagged
deer for Styczynski.

Styczynski and Jim Lukasik were found guilty on two charges and
each received a three-year license revocation. Joe Lukasik, guilty
on one charge, was revoked for one year.

Besides the fines and revocation, Duket authorized the
confiscation of equipment used in the violation, including a .308
rifle. A Ford pickup that had been held as evidence for more than
one year was returned.

The case was made by warden Dave Zebro, who has since
transferred from Marinette to Spooner. He was assisted by wildlife
manager Tom Bahti, of Green Bay, who also carries warden
credentials.

Zebro said Marinette County wardens have conducted business with
Styczynski and the Lukasik brothers several times over the past few
years, but this is the best case ever made against the trio.

“Each guy has been pinched at least once before,” Zebro said.
“Styczynski has been pinched at least five times. We have
complaints and investigations on him dating back into the early
1980s.”

Those complaints and violations have ranged from loaded guns in
vehicles, to borrowed tags, to bad bear baits to late hunting.
Zebro caught Styczynski twice in the same deer season one day for a
loaded gun in a truck and later for hunting over too much bait.

In about 1985, a jury acquitted Styczynski and the elder Lukasik
in a poaching case.

This time around, the charges stem from an investigation dating
back to Nov 14, 1999, in Wausaukee Township.

“They went by us at about 12:50 a.m. and were shining. We found
a firearm, which was uncased and loaded, and forensics testing on
the deer indicated it had been dead no more than hour,” Zebro
said.

“In this case, we were actually working a complaint from deer
season of 1998, with the shining and shooting associated with
Styczynski. A citizen told me where he was shining. The reason I
was at where I was at was to catch these guys. We had only been
sitting there for about 90 minutes in an old farm house watching
several hay fields and a picked cornfield.

“As often as those guys have shined and shot deer, they came
through like a bunch of teen-agers. They used a lot of light,
although they did keep the light below the tree line. When I pulled
up behind them, I couldn’t believe it was them. They had an
untagged doe in the back of the truck with a bullet hole in
it.”

When Zebro turned on his emergency lights, the three men started
chucking gear into the ditch, he said. The wardens, with some
back-up help, went back later and found a rifle, lights, shells and
other evidence.

They found beer cans and called in the Marinette County
Sheriff’s Department. Styczynski was believed to be operating the
vehicle while intoxicated and he was subsequently arrested and
found guilty of that charge, as well.

Zebro said the wardens carefully collected evidence and
documented everything because, based on previous experience, they
knew the three men would not give them any statements or
acknowledge that they had committed any crime.

“They wouldn’t even acknowledge there was a deer in the back of
the truck. I asked them who shot the deer and they said, What
deer.’ They get a lot of free legal advice from a relative who is a
lawyer,” Zebro said.

Zebro credits successful prosecution of this case to the
assistant district attorneys.

“This case is a year and a half old. It would have been easy for
the DA’s office to brush it aside, but they held firm, recognizing
the severity of the violations and settled for appropriate
penalties,” he said.

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