Conservation Wildlife Management

Turkey Poacher Becomes First Person in Indiana to Get Lifetime Hunting Ban

Hanson Pusey has hunted with suspended privileges in seven states over the last three years
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Hanson Pusey given lifetime hunting ban for turkey poaching
Pusey is the first person in Indiana to ever receive this type of punishment. Indiana Department of Natural Resources

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources marked a rather unfortunate milestone on Thursday, Nov. 10 when the Warren County Court issued 25-year-old turkey poacher and longtime scofflaw Hanson Pusey with the state’s first ever lifetime hunting ban. In addition to the lifetime ban, he was also delivered a home detention sentence, probation, and was charged replacement fees for the cost of the investigation, according to a press release from IDNR. As you can imagine, the list of infractions the West Lafayette man committed to receive this punishment is extensive.

Pusey’s hunting privileges were first suspended in March 2019 after racking up multiple charges for trespass, illegal take of wildlife, and waterfowl hunting violations in a November 2018 case. He kept chasing turkeys in Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania after the suspension. When the Indiana DNR received a tip in 2020 that Pusey was still poaching in the area, they surveilled his activity and eventually searched his home.

IDNR officers found 83 spent shells with the dates and locations of the turkeys Pusey had killed, dating back to 2012. Fourteen of the shells were dated within three months of when Pusey received his first suspension in 2019, four of them in Indiana. While evidence of this magnitude is rare in a poaching investigation, it likely helped expedite the process for Pusey’s charges in Indiana and other states.

The punishments in each state are as follows:

In Pennsylvania, $4,125 in fines and an eight-year suspension of all hunting licenses; in Connecticut, $324 in fines and an indefinite suspension of all hunting licenses; in Massachusetts, $700 in fines and a full license suspension during probation; in Georgia, $2,335 in fines; in North Carolina, $278 in fines; and in Tennessee, $525 in fines.

Pusey was charged once again in February 2022 for continuing to hunt without permission and for stealing a trail camera SD card, triggering the lifetime ban. According to state court records, Pusey has a history of criminal mischief. He pled guilty to misdemeanor battery in 2015 after being charged with felony strangulation.