Web Photo Leads Authorities To Teen Poacher

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors


Dec. 31, 2008


Web Photo Leads Authorities To Teen Poacher
Here’s an important lesson for youngsters who use those Internet
social-networking sites like My Space: be careful what you say or post
online — especially if you’ve broken game laws! Also this week, we bring you
reports on declines in deer donations in Wisconsin, and much more!

My Space/My Mistake
Agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recently tracked
down an Olla, La., teen who allegedly killed three deer in one day — including
two spotted fawns — and then posted the photo on a social networking website.


J.R. Absher

After receiving a complaint about the photo posted on the website on Dec.
1, DWF agents initiated an investigation and questioned Christopher Bearden,
17. The teen allegedly admitted to shooting all three deer on opening day of
gun season. He was issued citations for two counts of taking spotted fawns and
possessing over the daily limit of deer.

Taking or possessing a spotted fawn carries a fine between $500 to $750, and
jail time between 15- to 30 days for each count. Possessing over the limit of
deer is punishable by a fine between $250 to $500, or jail time up to 90 days,
or both plus court costs. Bearden will also have to pay restitution on the
three deer valued at $1,573.62.

Sign Of The Times: Deer Donations Plummet
At least two factors contributed to this year’s sharp decline in the number of
deer donated to Wisconsin’s primary venison donation program, not the least of
which are the economic hardships being felt by many Americans, including deer
hunters.

Coordinators with Wisconsin’s “Hunt for the Hungry,” said overall deer
contributions have dropped 40 percent from last year’s levels. As of last week,
the organization collected 1,350 deer, about 800 fewer than 2007.

"Deer hunters fortunate to get extra deer this year are giving the deer
meat to relatives or other folks in need," program founder Lee Dudek told
the Appleton Post-Crescent.

Tough economic times were only part of the reason for the significant
drop-off, however. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported there
was a 20 percent decrease in the state’s firearms deer harvest this year — in
a state that often has one of the largest annual deer kills in the country.

"Hunters did take less deer, which also contributes to the decline in
donations," Dudek said.

The 2008 Wisconsin deer kill reflected the lowest number of whitetail taken
there in 15 years.

The DNR reports that since the 2000 fall hunting season, hunters in
Wisconsin donated more than 68,000 deer and provided more than 3 million pounds
of ground venison to food pantries.

Actor David Spade: One Of The Good Guys
Here at the Outdoor News Hound, we’re often asked by hunters, anglers, and
shooting sports enthusiasts to help them identify the good, bad, and the ugly
among those celebrities in Hollywood and elsewhere.

Television and movie actor, and Saturday Night Live alumni David Spade has
recently proven he is an anomaly among many of those who work in the
entertainment industry. Spade performed before one of the country’s largest
gatherings of hunters and conservationists at the 2008 Safari Club
International convention in Reno, Nev., earlier this year.

And last week — in the true spirit of the holidays — Spade announced he
was giving the Phoenix, Ariz., Police Department $100,000 to purchase 50
Bushmaster AR-15s to help arm its officers. Spade, a Phoenix native and Arizona
State University grad, said he decided on the gift after hearing that police
union officials asked that officers be allowed to buy their rifles if the city
is unable to provide them.

Spade’s gift means as many as 300 officers on patrol could soon be armed
with AR-15s, even in light of recent debates between police and union officials
about the availability of the tactical weapons during the city’s ongoing budget
strife.

"These guys need to be able to do their jobs and I am just happy I
could help," Spade said.

And in our book, that makes Spade one of the Good Guys.

Non-Residents Hit With Increased License Fee In Missouri
While the Missouri Conservation Commission decided at its regular meeting
against increasing hunting and fishing license fees for residents, hunters and
anglers from outside the Show-Me (the money) State will have to dig deeper
beginning July 1, 2009.

For example, a non-resident archery deer license that used to cost $150 will
now be $225. In addition, non-resident firearms tags rose from $175 to $225.

By comparison, neighboring Illinois — which supplies many of Missouri’s
non-resident hunters — charges non-residents $150 for a firearm either-sex deer
permit.

John Hoskins, director of the Missouri Conservation Department, said in a
press release the worsening economy was the prime factor in ditching the
proposed fee increases for Missouri residents.

"Our economy is in much worse shape than it was when we first proposed
the price increases," Hoskins said in the release. "We are sensitive
to the plight of our fellow Missourians during this unprecedented recession. We
hope that by eliminating these price increases, we can help Missouri hunters,
trappers and anglers weather these difficult economic times."

Quote Of The Week
"There are no bad days in a duck blind."
–Charles F. Waterman
"Duck Blinds, The Part I Remember,” 1974

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear
in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the
outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at
jrabsher@outdoorpressroom.com.

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