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Poacher Kills Hundreds of Deer, Judge Gives Him the 'Bambi' Punishment

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If you believe the punishment should fit the crime, one Missouri judge agrees.

David Berry Jr. of Springfield was sentenced to over a year in prison after being found guilty on charges stemming from a poaching sting in early December. Unhappy with leaving it at that, Judge Robert George ordered Berry to watch “Bambi” at least once a month while behind bars, reports the Springfield News-Leader.

If that doesn’t earn Berry a catchy prison nickname, nothing will.

Berry, along with three of his family members, committed one of the worst crimes in the hunting world: Poaching. And this wasn’t just a few deer they harvested illegally — the family was involved in a massive poaching ring that took state, federal, and even Canadian law enforcement years to unravel.

The deer were not taken for their meat, either.

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The poachers would target trophy bucks for their heads and antler racks. Once a deer was downed, its head was removed and the body left to rot.

Wildlife agents speculated that hundreds of deer were illegally harvested in this manner. With deer weighing well over a hundred pounds on average, there were potential tons of wasted meat.

This appears to have been greed, pure and simple. Deer tags are easy to come by in many areas, especially in more rural states like Missouri. Hunting laws in most states also make waste of meat illegal, encouraging responsible stewardship of natural resources.

As a result of this grievous crime, Berry will also have his hunting and fishing privileges in Missouri revoked for life.

Do you support this judge's idea of a just punishment for poaching?

These “men” give all hunters a bad name.

Hunting has been on the decline in America. NPR reported in March that today’s hunters number at only half of what they did 50 years ago.

Draconian environmental laws, restrictive gun bans and increased license fees and taxes all chip away at the nation’s army of sportsmen. A pervasive anti-gun culture also ensures that many young Americans will reach adulthood without ever handling a firearm. Disinformation also plays a major part in the decline of hunting.

Perhaps one of the most damaging myths is the idea of hunters as bloodthirsty killers, only in the deer woods to legally kill a living creature.

In fact, just the opposite is true. Hunters contribute more to maintaining the ecological balance than most people realize.

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Recently, New York began experiencing a major upswing in rates of tick-borne disease. The outbreak was linked back to a massive deer population — something the state’s relatively few hunters have a hard time managing by themselves.

Fortunately, many state wildlife agencies understand this principle. Partnering with hunters and anglers has produced flourishing wildlife environments, free from large-scale disease and overpopulation. Hunters return the favor, keeping a watchful eye for anyone taking more than their fair share.

Operation Game Thief, a tip line to report poaching, is one result of this cooperation. The hotline is responsible for the arrest of Berry and his co-poachers, as well as a number of other wildlife thieves.

And with many states either already operating a tip line or planning to institute one, the message is clear: Poachers’ time is coming to an end.

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Jared has written more than 200 articles and assigned hundreds more since he joined The Western Journal in February 2017. He was an infantryman in the Arkansas and Georgia National Guard and is a husband, dad and aspiring farmer.
Jared has written more than 200 articles and assigned hundreds more since he joined The Western Journal in February 2017. He is a husband, dad, and aspiring farmer. He was an infantryman in the Arkansas and Georgia National Guard. If he's not with his wife and son, then he's either shooting guns or working on his motorcycle.
Location
Arkansas
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Military, firearms, history




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