Marion, Ohio – Two La Rue men had their hunting licenses
suspended until they pay in full $12,845.71 in restitution after
each pleaded guilty to poaching a trophy whitetail buck.
Division of Wildlife officer Chad Grote said a he was contacted
by sportsmen who had been tracking a deer near Decliff, Ohio, and
had seen a truck and heard two gunshots.
Grote was assisted in his investigation by Delaware County
Wildlife Officer Steve Harvey and District 1 Investigator Leighland
Arehart. The sportsman tipsters were able to identify the vehicle
used in the shooting and knew who it belonged to, according the the
DOW. Officers were able to determine that the deer had been taken
illegally, and also confiscated another deer that was untagged.
Willard Fassler, 56, pleaded guilty May 25 in Marion Muncipal
Court to four charges, including hunting without permission,
hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, shooting at a deer from a
public road, and tagging the deer of another. He was ordered to pay
$400 in fines, an additional $233 in court costs, and to forfeit a
muzzleloader used in the wildlife violations. His hunting license
is suspended for a minimum of one year or until restitution for the
trophy deer is paid in full. In addition he was placed on community
control sanctions for five years.
Willard L. Fassler Jr., 32, of LaRue, pleaded guilty May 25 to
two charges including hunting without permission, and hunting with
the aid of a motor vehicle. He was ordered to pay $200 in fines, an
additional $131 in court costs, and to forfeit the trophy deer and
a muzzleloader used in the trophy deer kill. Fassler’s hunting
license was also suspended for a minimum of one year, or until
restitution for the trophy deer is paid in full.
Each received a suspended 30-day jail sentence.
The Division of Wildlife asked the court to impose restitution
for the deer in the amount of $12,845.71 to be paid between the two
men. The trophy deer scored 1864/8, which is the basis for the
restitution under a March 2008 revision to the restitution law for
the illegal taking of white-tailed deer. The law now allows the
Division of Wildlife to seek an increased recovery value on
illegally harvested wildlife.
“It was a good case,” Grote said of his first trophy deer
restitution investigation. It is important, he said, to make
sportsmen aware of Ohio’s increased sanctions for poaching trophy
Investigators found blood and drag marks and collected DNA
samples. The two poachers knew they had made a mistake, Grote said,
and agreed to plead guilty to the charges.
Anyone observing or suspecting that wildlife violations are
occurring may report illegal activity by calling the
Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline toll free at 1-800-POACHER.