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Case File  #17   November 2008

Night Hunting in Washington County

On November 23, 2008, Game Warden Scott Osgood received an Operation Game Thief (OGT) complaint of possible nighthunting in the Washington County town of Cherryfield on the previous evening. Warden Osgood responded to the area and noticed a bloody drag mark on the snow covered ground next to the road. Warden Osgood tracked the bloody trail from the road, across a back lawn and into an attached shed of a house. The snow on the ground had fallen prior to the end of legal hunting on the previous day.

Knocking on the door of the house, Warden Osgood asked for permission to look in the shed to which the owner replied, "no problem". Opening the door, the owner of the house showed the warden two large buck deer hanging. The larger of the two deer was claimed to have been shot and registered several days before. The owner claimed his stepson had killed the other deer the previous afternoon and they just returned from registering the deer. Warden Osgood placed his hand inside the cavity of the smaller buck and immediately the owner said that, "if the buck felt too warm it was because I just rinsed it off with warm water".

Warden Osgood asked to speak with the stepson. After asking the stepson to show him where he shot the deer, the two walked toward a treestand the stepson claimed to have shot the deer from. Warden Osgood noticed several piles of apples underneath apple trees near the edge of the back lawn. Once at the treestand the young man claimed to have shot the deer from, the warden also noted that there were no fresh deer tracks, blood or human tracks in the snow to or from the treestand. The warden had the stepson backtrack the bloody tracks with him. Warden Osgood then told the stepson that he needed to tell the truth as he felt the young man was lying to him. Warden Osgood then stated that it appeared the young man shot the deer out of his window the previous night, to which the young man replied, "something like that". After advising the young man of his Miranda rights, the poacher stated he looked out the window the previous evening around 10PM, saw the buck standing on the back lawn and went down to get his scoped rifle and returned to the upstairs window and shot the deer.

The penalty? The poacher, charged with night hunting,  received a $1,000 fine, mandatory 3 days in jail, loss of hunting privileges for one year and will have to take the ethics course before reinstatement of his hunting license. Washington County is an area of Maine with very few deer so it is a shame whenever deer are illegally killed but certainly in this county where the Fish and Wildlife Department has worked diligently to try and rebuild the deer herd. Without Operation Game Thief, this case would not have been solved. This is yet another example of excellent information from a concerned citizen and great warden work.


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