Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Four Traverse County, MN residents face stiff fines, loss of hunting privileges

Three adults and a juvenile, all from Beardsley, Minn., face
fines and restitution totaling nearly $13,000 for a variety of
charges from a November deer poaching case reports the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources.

Jason James Murphy, 22, is charged with gross misdemeanor
shining, transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle,
discharge of a firearm at a deer from the road right of way, and
open bottle of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle.

Tanner Aric Zych, 20, is charged with gross misdemeanor shining,
transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, open bottle of an
alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle, and under age 21 possession
and consumption of an alcoholic beverage.

Ryan Jay Murphy, 18, is charged with gross misdemeanor shining,
shooting at deer from the road right of way, untagged big game, and
failure to validate a site tag.

A 16-year-old juvenile is charged with gross misdemeanor
shining, gross misdemeanor transport of an illegally taken deer,
shooting a deer from the road right of way, and taking deer without
a firearms deer license.

Baumbarger said if the four are convicted each faces a maximum
penalty of $2,000 for gross misdemeanor shining, as well as a total
of $2,700 in fines on a variety of other charges. Restitution is
$500 for each deer. Their hunting privileges could also be revoked
for three years.

Unknown to the accused the incident occurred literally at the
front door of State Conservation Officer Daniel Baumbarger of

“I was off-duty, standing outside of my house when I noticed a
vehicle moving on a nearby roadway at a speed that didn’t seem
normal,” said CO Baumbarger. “The vehicle repeatedly moved to a
field approach, paused and then backed out, using its headlights to
spot deer.”

Baumbarger went back inside his house, put on his uniform, got
in his patrol vehicle, and followed the suspect vehicle, observing
it sweeping farm fields with its headlights, before meeting up with
a second vehicle parked along a township road.

Assistance was requested from the Traverse County Sheriff’s
Department, and while a deputy followed one of the vehicles to a
residence, Baumbarger tailed the second vehicle, containing Jason
Murphy and Tanner Zych, to an establishment in Beardsley.



“As they exited the vehicle I stopped them, identified myself, and
took their cell phones to prevent them from contacting the driver
of the other vehicle. I could smell the strong odor of alcohol and
noticed several empty beer cans in the truck, as well as two
uncased shotguns on the passenger side of the front seat. Both
shotguns were loaded,” Baumbarger said. Several slugs and two
spotlights were also found in the truck cab.

The two men later admitted to the CO that they had been out
looking for deer, that the juvenile had shot a deer earlier, and
that they were there to help harvest and load the animal.

A call from the deputy revealed two bucks were in the back of
the other vehicle driven by the juvenile while Ryan Murphy was a

During the course of the investigation Ryan Murphy and the
juvenile admitted to shooting the two bucks.

“They both said they knew what they were doing was illegal, but
they were tired of everyone else doing it (shining deer), and they
decided to do the same thing. Two wrongs don’t make it right,”
Baumbarger said.

Investigators seized the two deer, as well as a 2009 and a 2004
pickup truck, four shot guns, and two spot lights, which are now
property of the state of Minnesota.

A trial date in Traverse County District Court has not been


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