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‘I like killing deer.’ Man accused of poaching says he would kill more deer, officials say

A Michigan man was in jail on domestic abuse charges when he was interviewed as part of an investigation into illegal hunting, officials said.

The investigation began in February 2022 after the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division received multiple tips accusing the man of poaching, according to a Jan. 27 news release.

Investigators found that from Oct. 1 to Dec. 24, 2021, the man had captured at least 11 deer, officials said. Three of those deer were taken on Oct. 1, the first day of archery season.

He is believed to have been “tagged” — meaning he did not have the tags to legally kill a deer — within the first week of the year’s archery season, according to the release. Within the first three days, he had let two of the deer prey, making them unfit for processing.

Conservation officer James Nason interviewed the hunter, who admitted he’s not “the most ethical hunter,” according to the news release.

Authorities said the man was hunting without a license, killing deer at any time of day and illegally baiting deer. He also “obtained other people’s deer tags to cover up his illegal deer, if he even tagged them,” according to the release.

The man told the officer he would also tag deer killed by other people, but added, “I don’t care, I’m addicted to game,” officials said.

He also said some of the deer in his possession were injured, according to the release. He said the deer later died near his hunting spot.

Officials said he also hunted in areas without the proper permits in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, according to the release.

“Sure, I like killing deer,” the man said during the interview. “If I could kill more I would, to be honest with you.”

The 55-year-old man was arraigned this month on 10 poaching-related charges, officials said. Charges include taking deer outside legal hunting hours, hunting white-tailed deer without a license, using other people’s hunting licenses, taking too many antlered deer, and possessing antlered white-tailed deer with no kill tag.

“This is an excellent investigation into a poacher who shows no respect for the resource or the ethics of fair chase,” Chief Dave Shaw, with the DNR Law Enforcement Division, said in the release. “Violations like this deprive law-abiding people of their opportunity to access and enjoy a publicly trusted natural resource, in this case the white-tailed deer.”

The man is serving 18 months of probation after being convicted of aggravated domestic assault, officials said. He is scheduled to reappear in court next month on charges filed by the Department of Natural Resources.

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