Case File #40 March 2012
On October 6, 2011 Warden Mike Joy received two anonymous OGT complaints via email advising that a poacher was bow hunting for deer without a license in the town of Berwick in sourthern Maine, had killed and not tagged the deer. The second complainant advised that the poacher's deer was being cut up in a shed in Berwick. Warden Joy was able to determine that the two informants did not know each other and were describing the same individual. One of the anonymous complainants stated that the poacher's girlfriend had tagged the deer.
Warden Rick LaFlamme was contacted to assist in the investigation. Checking with Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife records, the wardens determined that the poacher did not have a 2011 hunting license, the poacher's girlfriend had a 2011 Apprenticeship Archery License (which means she could not hunt until she took the archery safety course) and the owner of the shed where the deer was being cut up had a 2011 license.
The wardens checked a local deer tagging station and noted that the girlfriend had tagged an adult doe deer on October 7, 2011 using her archery license.
The wardens responded to the alleged poacher's residence where he lived with the girlfriend who tagged the deer. She answered the door and the wardens told her they were there to talk about the deer she registered. A big sigh came out of her and she told the wardens that she did not kill the deer but had registered the deer for her boyfriend because he could not obtain an hunting license as he owed too much in child support payments. When asked if she bow hunted, the girlfriend said she didn't as she had a medical condition that did not allow her to pull back the bow.
The wardens asked where the deer was and she told them that it had been taken to another residence in Berwick and hung up in a shed and cut up. The girlfriend willingly wrote up a statement for the wardens telling them the details of the incident. Warden Joy asked if she had any of the deer meat and she replied that it was in the freezer. Three bags of deer meat were produced and given to the wardens. Warden Joy asked if her boyfriend used bait to kill the deer; the girlfriend stated he used apples and then bought some grain from Wal-Mart to use and where off the Old Pine Hill Road her boyfriend's deer stands were placed.
As her boyfriend and the owner of the shed were out of town hunting in Vermont, the wardens told her to call them when her boyfriend returned. The wardens then went to the apartment complex of the second individual with the shed and checked the dumpster to see if there were any deer parts. They found a rib cage, hide and deer parts which were confiscated.
A few days later the wardens went to the residence of the owner of the shed where the deer was purportedly hung and cut up. They told the owner they wanted to talk about the deer that had been in his shed. The owner told the wardens that the poacher mentioned above had killed the deer, his girlfriend had registered the deer and it was cut up in his shed and they placed the hide, head and pieces in the dumpster out front.
The wardens then returned to the original residence where they questioned the girlfriend. The boyfriend answered the door and as a result of the wardens' questions, the poacher admitted to killing the deer without a license because he was unable to hold a license due to lack of child support payments. He further stated that the baited the site with apples and grain from Wal-Mart to entice the deer to come in. The poacher admitted to having his girlfriend register the deer for him as he had no license.
Wardens Joy and LaFlamme charged the three individuals with Hunting Deer without an Archery License, False Registration of Deer and Failure to Register Deer in Timely Manner.
What helped make this a good case for the game wardens is that two complainants, unknown to each other, took the time to report the violations to Operation Game Thief. The wardens were able to corroborate a great deal of evidence that enabled them prosecute the individuals.
The sad addendum to this story is that through the wardens' investigation, they learned that these three individuals did the very same thing in 2010. The poachers killed two deer using baited apples and grain and had the girlfriend tag both of those deer. It's about time that people like this are exposed for who they are .... low life thieves!