Iowa Juveniles Charged With Poaching

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A nearly two month investigation into deer poaching in southern Iowa has resulted in five juveniles from three counties facing multiple wildlife and criminal charges.

The case began in early October when state conservation officers received information that several individuals were rampaging through sections of Monroe, Marion and Mahaska counties at night shooting deer. Reportedly, the individuals would leave most of the deer to rot, but took the heads and antlers from some of the bucks. There were also reports of cattle being shot in the same area, on the same nights.

After weeks of investigation and surveillance, conservation officers filed 13 counts of hunting by artificial light, 12 counts of illegally taking deer, 9 counts of wanton waste of wildlife, 5 counts of carrying a loaded rifle in a vehicle on roadway, 5 counts of no valid hunting license, 4 counts of shooting a rifle from or over a roadway, 2 counts of illegal attempting to take deer and 1 count of unlawful transportation of deer.

"When dealing with juveniles, we try to use a lot of discretion. We do not want to push them to the point where they quit hunting, trapping and fishing completely. This was an extreme case," said Dallas Davis, state conversation office for Monroe and Appanoose counties.

Four of the juveniles pleaded guilty on Dec. 28, to 12 wildlife charges carrying fines of $2,110.50, plus $10,000 in civil penalties for shooting two deer with antlers that scored over 150 inches each. The juveniles were also ordered to perform 80 hours of community service each and the suspension of their hunting privileges is pending.

In addition to the wildlife violations, further investigation led to two of the teens being charged with two counts of injury to livestock, a class D felony, and two counts of 2nd degree criminal mischief, an aggravated misdemeanor for killing four head of cattle in Mahaska County, along with additional wildlife charges.

In addition to Officer Davis, other state conservation officers involved in the investigation include Ken Kenyon, for Marion County, Mike Ryan, for Mahaska and Poweshiek counties, and John Mertz, in Marion County [ret.], and the Mahaska County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Miller.