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Twp. deer poacher sentenced

March 26, 2014 - A Groveland Township hunter was sentenced this month for violations that occurred last fall.

First Lt. David Malloch, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer, reported that on Nov. 16, the second day of the firearm deer hunting season, a Groveland Township resident reported gunshots prior to sunrise. Conservation Officer Brandon Kieft, accompanied by a Michigan State Trooper, responded to the suspected violator, who was stuck in mud in an open field.

The suspect's car was searched and a shell casing for a .243 centerfire rifle was found. According to the DNR, it's illegal to have a centerfire rifle loaded and capable of killing a deer in the southern shotgun zone—which includes Oakland County. They also found three shotguns, the .243 rifle and dried blood in the trunk of the suspect's car. A further search of the area recovered a button buck— a male fawn about 6- months-old that have bumps or knobs that will eventully grow into antlers.

"Law enforcement determined the deer was dragged and hidden in the high weeds," said Malloch. "The suspect also led law enforcement to his deer camp where a small doe was recovered. While the firearm deer season was open, the suspect was not in possession of antlerless tags required."

In March the suspect pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal use of a rifle in the shotgun zone, using artificial light to take game, hunting outside of legal hours, recreational trespass, and a licensing violation. He was charged $2,000 reimbursement to the State of Michigan for the deer and assessed fines and costs. His hunting privileges were also suspended for three years.

"In this case, township property owners heard gun shots early in the morning and called RAP (Report a Poacher: 1-800-292-7800)," he said. "As law enforcement, we rely on individuals to report such activity, it's impossible for us to be everywhere."

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