Photo in Paper Captures Poacher in West Virginia
The newspaper publication of a photograph of a trophy buck has resulted in West Virginia conservation officers charging a Brooke County man with the illegal killing of the buck on the first day of the deer firearms season Monday, November 23.
Raymond Allen Owens of Bethany, W.Va., claimed that he had killed the buck on the first morning of the deer season on his own property. The deer was the first deer checked at a Brooke County checking station and was checked as a landowner kill. The buck was then transported to the Wheeling area Cabela's store where Owens checked on the details of the Big Buck Contest held at the store. A photographer from the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper was at the store and photographed the buck. The picture appeared on Tuesday, Nov. 24, on the front page of that publication.
Division of Natural Resources Sgt. Dave Shriner saw the photo in the paper and told Conservation Officer Steve Himmelrick about the large buck being killed in the Bethany area. Himmelrick knew the hunter who had killed the deer and coincidently had received a spotlighting complaint the previous Sunday night in the Bethany area.
After a short investigation, it was determined that Owens had not killed the deer on his own property but had been hunting without a license on another persons' property. He was charged in magistrate court, and the deer was confiscated from a local taxidermist. The deer was "green scored" and measured in 150s class.