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Case File  #57   April 2014

On November 9, 2013, Warden Phil Richter received an Operation Game Thief complaint in Bass Harbor on Mt. Desert Island. There is no open hunting season for deer on Mt. Desert Island. The information stated that the reporting party had found apples placed on an old road off Route 102 in Bass Harbor. Warden Richter responded and was able to locate numerous apples placed along an old road, exactly how the informant had stated. The warden also noticed vehicle tracks in the mud indicating that a vehicle had gone into the road more than once. Over the next week the apples were not replaced in the road, however, there were fresh vehicle tracks going to the end of the road and turning around each time the warden checked the site. On November 19th at approximately 10:00AM, the warden located a red salt block and more apples placed in a small clearing approximately 100 yards off the end of the road. Based on the appearance of the dead brush that had been cut to make the clearing, the warden could tell the area had been used for the last few years. The warden observed a ladder that was placed against a large pine tree. No stand was observed but it appeared that the poacher was sitting on the branches of the tree as a shooting lane which had been cut through allowed a clear view of the salt block and apples on the ground. At approximately 3:00PM on the same day, Warden Richter found a large white pickup parked at the end of the road. Two individuals came out of the woods at approximately 4:35PM but due to the darkness, the warden was unable to identify them. Once they left the area, the warden went to the clearing and could tell that more apples had been placed at the site since he had been there earlier in the day. Pictures were taken and the warden left. Over the next three days Warden Richter, either alone or accompanied by other wardens returned. More apples had been placed on the ground and each afternoon that the warden was there, live deer came into the bait to feed on the apples. On November 23rd at approximately 3:00PM, Warden Richter returned to the area alone. The same white truck was parked at the end of the road. The warden proceeded slowly into the bait site and when he was approximately 50 yards from the location, he could see two individuals up in the branches approximately 15 feet off the ground. One individual was holding a firearm and the other was holding a bow. At this point, Warden Richter announced, "Game Warden coming in, keep your hands where I can see them." As he walked up to the tree he told the person holding the rifle to unload it and drop the live rounds down to him. He unloaded two live .243 rounds and dropped them to the warden. The second person, lowered her bow down to the warden. The warden told them that the rifle and bow would be seized for evidence. The warden said to both people, "I know you guys are deer hunting", to which the male replied, "What do you want us to say, you got us". The warden asked if they hunted in here before this year at which time the male smiled and said that this land had been in their family for a long time. The male asked what they were looking for in violations. Given that there was no open hunting season on Mt. Desert Island, Warden Richter told them they were looking at Hunting Deer in Closed Season and Baiting Deer. The firearm and bow was seized as evidence, as was the red salt block and apples. Both provided written statements to the warden. The penalties? $2,000 in fines were assessed. True sportsmen don't hunt illegally, whether it is closed season or unfairly placing bait to entice deer to come within shooting range. The Maine Warden Service appreciates the cooperation it receives from concerned citizens.

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