IL: Southwest Illinois man charged with 2 hunting violations. Police say he’s done much more.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/southwest-illinois-man-charged-2-110000698.html

2/03/2022

Illinois Conservation Police cited a Pinckneyville man for numerous violations in December following a year-long investigation, but the Perry County state’s attorney’s office has so far only filed two charges.

Justin Bauersachs, 23, drove an ATV at waterfowl and dumped a goose carcass into a creek two years ago, according to documents the office filed this week.

The charges don’t reflect police accusations that Bauersachs trespassed on private property and poached wildlife, among other conservation violations. Conservation police are the law enforcement branch of the Department of Natural Resources.

Without charges from the state’s attorney, the police citations are unenforceable. The Perry County State’s Attorney’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

According to the Perry County charges, Bauersachs disturbed wild birds on Feb. 1, 2020, on private property between Cougar and Wolverine roads roughly 10 miles southwest of Pinckneyville. On Feb. 22, Bauersachs dumped the dead goose into Galum Creek.

But conservation police cited Bauersachs with 13 total violations in Perry County including unlawfully hunting on private land, hunting during closed season, unlawfully taking turkey and falsifying a deer harvest report.

Bauersachs was the third person to be charged in a trio accused of allegedly connected conservation violations in Perry, Clinton and Jackson counties. A defense attorney was not listed for him Tuesday in Perry County court records

According to records from conservation police, Bauersachs is known to police and property owners as a trespasser, and has killed protected wildlife. Bauersachs posted pictures of his kills on the social media application Snapchat, according to the police records.

Bauersachs posted a picture of Sally Albers, 19, with an eight-point buck and a compound bow lying on the deer’s body on Jan. 17, 2021, the last day of Illinois’ deer season when Perry County was only open for hunting deer without antlers. Albers was not wearing a blaze pink or orange hat and vest as required by law in the photo, police said, nor did she have a valid hunting license or habitat stamp.

Perry and Jackson county state’s attorneys filed charges against Albers, of Breese, in December. An attorney for Albers declined to comment.

The photo was taken near Wolverine Road, and a resident said they had trouble with Bauersachs “and his family trespassing on his property in the past.” The Perry County Sheriff’s Office had previously served them a letter telling them not to trespass on the property, according to police.

A Perry County judge approved a search of Albers’ and Bauersachs’ cell phones.

On Bauersachs’ phone, police said they found a photo of Albers posing with an eight-point buck along with video of a third person who has been cited for violations, Greg Cottom. The three didn’t just target deer, according to police.

In the video, Cottom, 47, shot a bobcat, police said. There were also text messages between Bauersachs and others talking about hunting around the time of the violations.

In one chat between Bauersachs and Cottom, they talked about Cottom illegally killing a bobcat on Nov. 22, 2019, and another on Feb. 12, 2021. After Cottom sent a video of the 2019 kill, Bauersachs replied, “You get em.” Cottom said, “Yep,” and Bauersachs replied, “Kitty cat,” police records show.

“The game warden was driving around here today,” police said Bauersachs messaged. “Not good if the game warden is around,” Cottom replied.

After the 2021 kill, Cottom messaged Bauersachs saying he got a “real big” bobcat.

“I hid in a fence row and he come sneaking thru the weeds like a mountain lion,” Cottom messaged, according to police.

Cottom denied to police he killed a bobcat during an interview on Nov. 21, 2021, but after police showed him the conversation with Bauersachs from February, he “suddenly ‘remembered’ shooting a bobcat,” though he claimed he thought it was a coyote when he shot it, records show.

Police cited Cottom with unlawfully taking a bobcat without a valid permit during the closed season and unlawfully possessing a bobcat pelt. An attorney for Cottom did not respond to a request for comment.

Police said they found images of a dead Hooded Merganser, a type of duck, as well as an image of a dead beaver on Bauersachs’ phone from March and April 2020. They also found images of dead wild turkey, which are a protected species, police wrote in their report.

Police ticketed Bauersachs for taking and possessing the wildlife, but as of Tuesday morning, the Perry County State’s Attorney had not filed charges on those violations.

In Jackson County, police ticketed Bauersachs, Cottom and Albers with trespassing and hunting on Knight Hawk Coal property as well as trespassing on a private resident’s property to get to the coal company’s land. While Albers and Cottom had been charged in Jackson County on these violations, Bauersachs was not.

Police said during an interview with Albers in January 2021, Bauersachs attempted to coach her via text message “on how to respond to our questions regarding the hunt” and her not having a valid license.

“Tell them the dude at Walmart must of not of put it on there because you asked for your hunting license and a buck and doe tag,” Bauersachs messaged.

Unlawful disturbance of wild birds is a Class A misdemeanor, the most serious, and polluting a waterway is a petty violation. Bauersachs was due in court on March 22.

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