Conservation Wildlife Management

Walleye Tournament Cheater’s Deer Poaching Charges Dropped

Chase Cominsky faced eight charges for allegedly poaching multiple deer in his home state of Pennsylvania. The charges were dropped on Jan. 11
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Chase Cominsky sits on a curb and talks to police.
Chase Cominsky is currently in jail for a separate forgery conviction. Photograph courtesy of Zach Callahan

A handful of poaching-related charges against former walleye tournament pro-turned-criminal Chase Cominsky have been dropped, according to multiple local news outlets citing records from Mercer County Court in Cominsky’s home state of Pennsylvania. The charges included accusations of night hunting, taking big game out of season, failure to tag deer, and using others’ tags on his own kills.

It is not immediately clear why the charges were dropped.

The eight charges were filed roughly five months after Cominsky and his fishing partner, Jake Runyan, were convicted of stuffing walleye with lead weights to win a tournament and $28,000 in prize money. The tournament took place on Lake Erie in September 2022, and footage of the discovery during the weigh-in went viral.

The duo was sentenced to 10 days in jail, two years of probation, and $2,500 fines for felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools, and unlawful ownership of wild animals. That last charge was related to the walleye filets Cominsky and Runyan stuffed the tournament fish with, in addition to the lead weights.

Read Next: Walleye-Stuffing Tournament Cheater Chase Cominsky Now Accused of Poaching Deer at Night

Allegations that Cominsky had also poached multiple deer first came to light on Nov. 25, 2022, when the Pennsylvania Game Commission received a report from someone who claimed to know Cominsky. They claimed he’d poached several deer over an eight-year span from 2013 to 2021. A search of Cominsky’s home in Hermitage, Pennsylvania turned up five deer mounts that investigators determined had either been tagged in someone else’s name, taken out of season, or killed at night. All five of the deer would have been deemed illegal harvest anyways because, according to wildlife officials, Cominsky was banned from hunting in Pennsylvania during that time period due to prior game-law violations.

Cominsky was also convicted of forgery and sentenced to six months to a year in jail followed by four months of probation on Dec. 21. This stemmed from a separate incident in January 2022, when he was caught on security camera giving his 18-year-old son fake money at a bowling alley. He was committed to Mercer County Jail on Dec. 14, where he remains.