Man Wins Contest With Alleged Illegally Taken Buck

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Billy Ray Herring, 65, of Quitman, could have ended up with three prize rifles, free mounts of his kill, and all the great press he could handle.

Instead, he owes the state $6,220 in civil restitution and faces felony charges

What happened? He killed a trophy buck, entered it into a bunch of state and local contests and is accused of going to buy his hunting license AFTER he took the buck.

Herring was charged March 11 with killing a deer without a license and with three second-degree felonies for tampering with government documents.

The charges stem from the fact that Herring is accused of buying the license to defraud those running the contests he entered. He signed certifications on the entry forms saying he took the animal using legal means and methods, including on the form to enter the Texas Big Game Awards, run by the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He also entered contests run by the Tyler Morning Telegraph and the Town of Mt. Pleasant that involved him signing similar agreements.

Herring had actually WON the newspaper contest for its North Texas division and received a new Remington 700, .7-magnum rifle, and a free mount.

Game Warden Ronny Ward, who investigated the case along with Game Warden Kurt Kelley, said it started with a phone call in February from a taxidermist in Wood County. The buck had scored anywhere between 157 and 165 B&C points.

Investigators learned through witness accounts that Herring showed the deer to folks around 7:30 a.m. on the day he hunted it, (Nov. 6, 2004). But when game wardens checked his hunting license, they found he bought it at 8:18 a.m. that day. He is accused of falsifying all his contest entry forms, writing on them he took the deer around 5 p.m.

Herring was being held under a total of $11,900 bond in the Wood County Correctional Facility. He made bond later that day. The case is scheduled to be heard by a Wood County Grand Jury the morning, March 21.