Bill is $13,000 for poached park buck

Maumee, Ohio – It was big news last fall when two individuals
were fined more than $12,000 for poaching a trophy buck in south
central Ohio.

Kory Posey and Kyle Kruger of Washington Court House were the
first to be prosecuted under a new law that requires convicted
suspects to pay more for illegally taking trophy deer.

The penalty, requiring each to pay more than $6,000 in
restitution alone, was the largest in state wildlife history

Now, it’s second.

A pair of 20-year-olds on Feb. 2 were fined more than $13,000
for poaching a buck that was well known as “Big Boy” or “Stickers”
in Maumee’s Side Cut Metro Park. (Ohio Outdoor News, Dec. 5). Both
Justin Angles and Daniel Mahoney have already served three days in
jail.

Park visitors had watched the big, 15-point drop tine deer for
years, and a local photographer had chronicled the animal’s
development through a series of well distributed images, said Paul
Kurfis, the northwest Ohio law enforcement supervisor for the
DNR_Division of Wildlife.

“I’ve had more people call me about this particular deer than
any I have worked on,” wildlife investigator Steve Thomson, the
lead lawman on the case, told The (Toledo) Blade in December.
Thomson, a 16-year veteran of the division, called the deer “a
celebrity,” well known to users of the popular riverside park.
Aging put the animal at between 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 years old, according
to wildlife biologists.

Thomson and Lucas County Wildlife Officer Kevin Newsome made the
arrests in late November with help from investigator James Tunnel,
who was able to secure the rack from a taxidermist in southwest
Ohio.

Angles and Mahoney pleaded no contest and were sentenced Feb. 3
on a litany of charges in four jurisdictions. The restitution,
essentially the replacement value for the animal, was $13,277.60,
according to the ruling in Maumee Municipal Court. The two also are
responsible for combined fines of $1,200 and $700 in court costs.
Judge Gary Byers sentenced each man to the three days in jail with
another 50 suspended, and ordered them held immediately after the
sentencing hearing. Each also must spend a week under house arrest,
according to court records, and perform 60 hours of community
service. Both were hit with hunting license suspensions of three
years and the same time period of criminal probation. The two also
pleaded to charges from Toledo Area Metroparks for criminal
trespassing.

In all, nine wildlife charges were filed against the pair –
students at the University of Toledo – in four courts and two more
from metropark authorities.

The crime took a circuitous route around northwest Ohio,
according to investigators. Though he had never completed a hunter
education class, Angles purchased his hunting license and deer tag
in Lima. Angles, with help from Mahoney, killed the deer in Maumee,
then checked it in Wood County. Charges were brought in all three
jurisdictions, said Kurfis. Mahoney, also, had never completed a
hunter education class.

Postings on the Internet was ultimately the duo’s undoing.
Investigators said the 15-point buck apparently was killed between
12:30 and 1 a.m. on Oct. 9. Soon thereafter, the Division of
Wildlife’s poacher hotline lit up after a photograph of a hunter
with the familiar buck was posted on the state wildlife Web
site.

In interviews with investigators, Angles and Mahoney said they
found the deer as roadkill. Angles had claimed on the Web site,
though, that he killed the deer with a longbow in Wood County.
After tagging in the deer in Bowling Green, the two showed the deer
around, including at a big box Bass Pro Shops store in
Rossford.

“We have witnesses there,” Thomson told The Blade of the store
scene. “They definitely picked the wrong deer.”

Then came the photograph postings on the DNR Web site as well as
another. The investigation revealed that Angles killed the deer
with Mahoney’s assistance.

The leader of a_park volunteer group was particularly incensed
about the crime.

“With the size of the deer herds in Ohio and Michigan, I find it
ridiculous that these poachers take the easy way out by hunting in
a metropark,” Alaina Meister, president of Friends of Side Cut
Metropark, said in November. “Obviously, ‘hunter’ does not always
mean ‘sportsman.'”

The buck’s antler size put it in a special classification for
restitution that’s puts a higher value on big deer. None of the
suspects charged in the two cases to date – Posey, Kruger, Angles,
nor Mahoney – were older than 20.

Jim Lehman, the Division of Wildlife’s chief law enforcement
officer, said the restitution in these two cases is more than was
charged in the previous decade. In the past, a poached deer was
worth $400 regardless of sex or antler size.

The new system, said Lehman, “is working and (those convicted)
are paying.” The confiscated antlers of “Big Boy” were prominently
displayed at a Ohio Wildlife Council meeting Feb. 4.

In an odd twist, the 15-point buck may come from the same
bloodline of a similar size deer poached in the same metropark in
2001, said Kurfis.

“It’s very similar,” he said. ” … There’s no doubt the genes are
still there.”

In 2001, a Toledo man was convicted of possessing a huge set of
antlers from a buck known as “Side Cut Sam,” according to The
Blade. The decomposed carcass of the buck had been found, minus its
head and antlers, on Blue Grass Island. No one was charged with the
actual killing of the deer, however. The carcass showed evidence of
a bullet wound, according to Kurfis, who personally worked that
case. Kurfis said the suspect had offered to sell the rack to an
undercover investigator for $10,000.

“Big Boy” is actually the third big league deer poached from
Side Cut. In 2006, a Toledo man was convicted of poaching an
eight-point buck at the urban park with a crossbow.

Kurfis hopes Side Cut’s most recent case is its last.

“Hopefully, guys are going to say ‘it’s just not worth it,” the
law supervisor said. “That’s what all this is for – a deterrent
that keeps these animals out there for those who play by the
rules.”

Categories: Import

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *