Conservation Wildlife Management

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

Pennsylvania officials discovered five mounted bucks in Cominsky's home that had either been tagged in another person's name or killed at night—all while he was banned from hunting
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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

One of the disgraced pro fishermen who was convicted of multiple felonies for stuffing walleyes with lead weights at a tournament on Lake Erie last year has now been accused of poaching deer in Pennsylvania. On Oct. 23, Chase Cominsky was charged with eight counts of wildlife crimes, according to Mercer County Court records. These charges stem from accusations that Cominsky killed several whitetail bucks while hunting without a license, after legal hours, and out of season, The Herald reports.

A criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission Northwest and secured by The Herald says that game wardens were contacted on Nov. 25, 2022, by someone who knew Cominsky. They reported that Cominsky had harvested several deer illegally between 2013 and 2021.

Wardens followed up on these accusations and searched Cominsky’s home in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. They discovered five mounted bucks that had either been tagged in another person’s name or killed at night during that timeframe, according to NBC-4. All five of the deer would have been deemed illegal harvests anyways because, as wildlife officials pointed out in the criminal complaint, Cominsky has been banned from hunting in Pennsylvania since 2008 due to prior game-law violations.

Cominsky is scheduled to be arraigned in Mercery County Court on Nov. 14.

The poaching case only adds to Cominsky’s pile of legal woes, as they come on the heels of forgery charges that were filed against him in February. According to the criminal complaint in that case, which is still ongoing, Cominsky and his 18-year-old son tried passing off counterfeit bills at a bowling alley in Hermitage.

These forgery charges made a bigger splash than they would have otherwise because Cominksy was already in the spotlight for his role in a highly publicized cheating scandal that rocked the professional fishing world in October 2022. On Sept. 30 of that year, he and his teammate Jacob Runyan were caught red-handed stuffing their walleyes with lead weights to increase their overall bag weight.

Read Next: Professional Walleye Anglers Caught Stuffing Fish with Weights During a Tournament on Lake Erie

Video footage from that day shows the outrage that ensued. The two anglers were on track to win the tournament, and they likely would have been named Team of the Year on the Lake Erie Walleye Trail after having what tournament directors called a “curiously unprecedented run of success.”

Cominsky and Runyan pled guilty in May to felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools, and unlawful ownership of wild animals. Their ultimate fall from grace culminated in a Cuyahoga County courtroom, where they were handcuffed and taken to jail to serve 10-day sentences. The two men were also fined, put on probation, and had their fishing privileges suspended for three years.