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DNR: Potential Illinois State Record Buck Was Poached

November 09, 2011
DNR: Potential Illinois State Record Buck Was Poached - 6

As a deer hunter, can you imagine having a close encounter with a 36-point non-typical monster that would score well over 250? What would you be willing to do or sacrifice to get a shot at such a phenomenal whitetail?

Unfortunately, there are some who fall victim to rack envy and cross that ethical and legal boundary by poaching a trophy buck. Recently, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police arrested three men for poaching deer. One of the deer they are suspected of poaching was a potential Illinois state record non-typical whitetail that scored 261 5/8. 

This particular buck carried 36-points that shot off its extra-thick rack in every possible direction. According to the DNR, the deer had illegally been harvested in Grundy County, but a thorough investigation of this particular case uncovered more startling facts. Over a 10-year period, the three men (Christopher Kiernana, Garret Armstrong and Larry Smith) had unlawfully harvested a total of 24 deer across the state of Illinois and Canada, according to the DNR.

A joint-effort by the IDNR, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Alberta Sustainable Resources Department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks led to the arrest of all three individuals on numerous wildlife related charges. 

The men that were involved in this 10-year poaching ring were residents of Illinois, New York and Canada. They received a variety of Wildlife Code violations ranging from unlawful possession of illegally taken deer, falsifying harvest records, hunting without the permission of the landowner and numerous other major charges. The case is still under investigation, so the DNR is not releasing more specific details.

According to Rafael Gutierrez, the IDNR Conservation Police Chief, poaching is a serious matter in Illinois and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement has zero tolerance when it comes to poaching matters. Our Conservation Police will continue to protect our natural resources so that legal sportsmen get every opportunity they deserve,” he says. 

Without question, poaching can be one of the biggest problems that legal and ethical hunters face each season. Over the years, I’ve covered several heartbreaking stories that involved a legitimate hunter losing a trophy buck to a poacher. Some of these hunters spent countless hours scouting, hanging trail-cameras and re-positioning stands, but were robbed of their much-deserved opportunity by an illegal act.

On that note, do you feel your state’s current poaching penalties are enforced and strict enough or should they be increased and enforced more?

Comments (6)

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from max klepper wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

poachers are the kind of people that don't deserve the benefit of hunting. Some people hunt/scout/prepare for 12 months a year and it's not fair when the big buck they were on is killed by a couple of people who drive around with a spot light and a high powered rifle!

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from Bryan wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

Thats a shame. Where I come from poaching is a way of life for a lot of people and the only way they could even come close to killing a deer. The law here is soft on poachers. I can't really think of anyone who has been in trouble for doing it. Wish it would change, but don't see it happening anytime soon

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from Bubba Jenkins wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

It is ashame to see a buck like this killed by poachers, especially a poaching ring where not one of these men had the thought that they were doing wrong. I agree with jm1993, poaching laws aren't strict enough, any poacher should get jailtime and and immediately stripped of their hunting and gun rights. Many poachers are caught multiple times before they ever actually go to jail or lose their hunting or gun rights.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

In answer to Spikehunter's thought, no, poachers are NOT hunters!! It REALLY BUGS me that we get lumped in with these individuals, and if I saw something, I'm reporting it!! When we lived in Montana I worked in a sporting goods store, and I had a 'gentleman' come in, and call pike something like 'worthless snakes', and proceeded to tell me he throws any he catches up on the bank!! Which is worse, poaching, or wasting a VALUABLE animal, just because you don't like them?

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from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I actually covered a story last year on the BBZ where two hunters in Ohio were on a monster buck. They spent months scouting and patterning the deer. During this time, both hunters had captured countless pictures of the buck on their trail-cameras. Just before opening day, the deer suddenly vanished without a trace. They hunted for the buck throughout the season and let several other really nice deer walk.

However, the non-typical giant never showed up. At the end of season, they visited a deer expo and found their buck in a booth. Needless to say, they called the local game warden who investigated the situation. Eventually the poacher admitted to illegally shooting the buck and was fined a huge amount of money.

As a hunter, I was glad that the poacher was actually caught. At the same time, I still felt horrible for the two ethical hunters that had tried to do everything right. Without question, losing the buck of a lifetime is something a hunter never gets over! This is especially true when someone breaks the law and robs you of your opportunity!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

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from JM1993 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

Sad to see such a beautiful deer get killed by scum poaches, hope they get prison time and banned for life from hunting. Personally I feel that poachers get to many warnings before anything is done, they can get caught multiple times before anything is really done to them(not like a small fine is going to make them stop, only jail time will).

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from JM1993 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

Sad to see such a beautiful deer get killed by scum poaches, hope they get prison time and banned for life from hunting. Personally I feel that poachers get to many warnings before anything is done, they can get caught multiple times before anything is really done to them(not like a small fine is going to make them stop, only jail time will).

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I actually covered a story last year on the BBZ where two hunters in Ohio were on a monster buck. They spent months scouting and patterning the deer. During this time, both hunters had captured countless pictures of the buck on their trail-cameras. Just before opening day, the deer suddenly vanished without a trace. They hunted for the buck throughout the season and let several other really nice deer walk.

However, the non-typical giant never showed up. At the end of season, they visited a deer expo and found their buck in a booth. Needless to say, they called the local game warden who investigated the situation. Eventually the poacher admitted to illegally shooting the buck and was fined a huge amount of money.

As a hunter, I was glad that the poacher was actually caught. At the same time, I still felt horrible for the two ethical hunters that had tried to do everything right. Without question, losing the buck of a lifetime is something a hunter never gets over! This is especially true when someone breaks the law and robs you of your opportunity!

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

In answer to Spikehunter's thought, no, poachers are NOT hunters!! It REALLY BUGS me that we get lumped in with these individuals, and if I saw something, I'm reporting it!! When we lived in Montana I worked in a sporting goods store, and I had a 'gentleman' come in, and call pike something like 'worthless snakes', and proceeded to tell me he throws any he catches up on the bank!! Which is worse, poaching, or wasting a VALUABLE animal, just because you don't like them?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bubba Jenkins wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

It is ashame to see a buck like this killed by poachers, especially a poaching ring where not one of these men had the thought that they were doing wrong. I agree with jm1993, poaching laws aren't strict enough, any poacher should get jailtime and and immediately stripped of their hunting and gun rights. Many poachers are caught multiple times before they ever actually go to jail or lose their hunting or gun rights.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from max klepper wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

poachers are the kind of people that don't deserve the benefit of hunting. Some people hunt/scout/prepare for 12 months a year and it's not fair when the big buck they were on is killed by a couple of people who drive around with a spot light and a high powered rifle!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

Thats a shame. Where I come from poaching is a way of life for a lot of people and the only way they could even come close to killing a deer. The law here is soft on poachers. I can't really think of anyone who has been in trouble for doing it. Wish it would change, but don't see it happening anytime soon

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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