Tioga County Pennsylvania men are facing $100,000 in fines

Harrisburg — Two Tioga County residents will pay a steep price for a weekend of poaching.

Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officers recently filed charges against them for a killing  spree in which a total of eight white-tailed deer were found shot and left to rot.

According to conservation officers Rodney Mee and Rob Minnich, beginning on Friday morning, Feb. 24, through Monday morning, Feb. 27, Zachary Zimmers, 21, and Michael

Hinman, 24, both of Morris Run, were out driving around, spotting and shooting deer and then leaving them lay.

“Fortunately, witnesses called in descriptions of events and vehicle used,” said Officer Mee. “Deer and evidence were found on scene which helped in locating the violators. The last known deer shot was an eight-point buck.”

This was the break the officers needed, as a passer-by saw Zimmers and Hinman stopped on the road and thought something was suspicious.  The passer-by stopped, got good descriptions of the vehicle, license number and suspects, and saw the deer in the field with a fresh bullet hole in it. 

The witness then called the Game Commission.

“The truck had an out-of-state license, so local law enforcement agencies were made aware that the vehicle was wanted by Game Commission officers as a suspect vehicle in the deer shootings,” said Minnich.

“Again, fate was on our side, as the suspects got the truck stuck the next morning in a local park. The witness was called to identify the vehicle and, when he was there, the suspect walked up to us, thereby providing us with an opportunity to obtain a positive identification.”

Officers Mee and Minnich noted that this case was a waste of the resource, but more unsettling was the total lack of concern for safety of others, as deer were shot in front of homes, next to homes, across roadways and from the roadways.

Zimmers and Hinman were charged with multiple charges of Title 34 (Game and Wildlife Code) and Title 18 (Crimes Code). At least 34 charges were filed against each individual, including; unlawful killing or taking of big game (deer); unlawful devices and methods (use of a vehicle); having a loaded firearm in a vehicle; unlawful use of lights while hunting; shooting on or across highways; shooting within a safety zone; and conspiracy.

If the maximum penalty is assessed on all charges, Zimmers and Hinman each face fines, court costs and restitutions in excess of $100,000, as well as 19 years in prison and 99 years of hunting license revocation.

“Thanks to all the concerned citizens who took the extra time and effort to observe, call and get involved, otherwise they may still be out doing this and getting away with it,” Mee said.

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