TN: Illegal deer kill will cost hunters $30,000 — and ability to hunt anywhere, feds say

Illegal deer kill will cost hunters $30,000 — and ability to hunt anywhere, feds say (


Two men accused of illegally killing a white-tailed deer in Tennessee are now banned from hunting anywhere in the world — for one year, federal prosecutors said.

The men, both 42 and from Mississippi, violated several Tennessee state laws, including hunting without a license, when they killed the deer on a property in Memphis in December 2019, according to prosecutors.

Then they violated federal law — the Lacey Act — when they transported the deer to their home state of Mississippi, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi.

The Lacey Act bans the illegal taking of wildlife, fish or plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The law was established in 1900.

On July 25, both men were sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and restitution after they pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act, the attorney’s office announced in a July 25 news release.

Their year of probation temporarily prevents them from hunting anywhere worldwide, prosecutors said.

The men must also forfeit the antlers of the deer they illegally killed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to prosecutors.

Attorney Paul Chiniche, who represented one of the defendants in the case, declined a request for comment from McClatchy News on July 26. McClatchy News contacted an attorney representing the other man for comment on July 26 and didn’t immediately receive a response.

Although prosecutors have publicly named them in the release, McClatchy News isn’t doing so because they’re not accused of a crime causing direct physical harm to another person.

Now, both men each owe $1,000 fines, $9,185 in restitution to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and $4,875 fines to the Lacey Act Rewards Account as part of their sentencing, according to the release.

In a statement, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Stephen Clark warned his office takes Lacey Act violations “seriously.”

“This multi-year investigation involving the two defendants responsible for the unlawful harvest and subsequent transportation in interstate commerce of a white-tailed deer from Tennessee to Mississippi is no exception,” Clark said.


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