Loss of firearms and hunting privileges and fines are all the trophies three out-of-state hunters will be taking home from their hunting trip to Aberdeen, Ohio.
Michael D. Brown, 43, of Bastrop, La., Robert B. Lins, 47, of Lucedale, Miss., and Caleb Skelton, 32, of Wiggins, Miss., along with two juveniles were apprehended for wildlife violations on Nov. 20 in Aberdeen, officials said.
On Dec. 5, all three appeared in Brown County Municipal Court, were found guilty, fined and their hunting licenses revoked for wildlife violations that included spotlighting and killing white-tailed deer with a rifle, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
“Ohio is an annual destination for many out-of-state hunters, and we encourage them to familiarize themselves with Ohio laws,” said Brian Goldick, Division of Wildlife District Five acting manager. “It is a hunter’s responsibility to know the laws and abide by them.”
The investigation was conducted by Brown County Wildlife Officer Eric Lamb, Adams County Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel, Clermont County Wildlife Officer Gus Kiebel, Investigator Joel Buddelmeyer and Aberdeen Police Department Officer Cody Prince.
Officers discovered two trash cans filled with venison and one-quarter of a deer stored in a bag in Skelton’s truck; three partial buck carcasses and two complete buck carcasses were hidden at a rural location, ODNR officials said.
Skelton was convicted of spotlighting, shooting deer from a motor vehicle, failure to tag deer and killing deer with a rifle and sentenced to 240 days jail time, ordered to pay $7,196.39 in restitution, a $50 fine, $601 bill to retrieve his vehicle and additional court costs. Skelton also forfeited seized deer, a .243 rifle, .30-06 rifle; and his hunting license was revoked for five years.
Lins was convicted of spotlighting, shooting deer from a motor vehicle, failure to tag deer and killing deer with a rifle. He was sentenced to 240 days of jail time, ordered to pay $1,923.77 in restitution, a $50 fine and additional court costs. He forfeited seized deer and a .270 caliber rifle, and his hunting license was revoked for three years.
Brown was convicted of hunting deer with a rifle and hunting without a permit. He was sentenced to 90 days of suspended jail time, ordered to pay a $750 fine and additional court costs. His hunting license was revoked for one year.
Jail time on all three men was suspended.
The restitution value for individual deer is determined by measuring the antlers using a mathematical formula and the value derived for wildlife.
The formula is applied to all deer whose gross score exceeds 125 Boone and Crockett inches.
Skelton killed two bucks that scored 144 5/8 and 142 and Lins killed one buck that scored 129 3/8.
To report a hunting or fishing violation, contact the Division of Wildlife’s Turn In a Poacher hotline at 800-POACHER (800-762-2437). Callers may remain anonymous. Those who provide accurate information which results in a criminal wildlife conviction may be eligible for a monetary reward once the case is settled in court, ODNR officials said.