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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2003

HUNTERS CAUGHT POACHING

By Mike McWilliams

Iowa City Press-Citizen - 10 December 2003

OXFORD - A group of eight hunters face thousands of dollars in fines and forfeited property after they were caught poaching deer near Oxford.

Kyle Jensen, a conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the number of vehicles with out-of-state license plates aroused his suspicion.

"I ran their tags and figured out what (hunting) licenses they had and went from there," Jensen said.

Many of them did not have valid deer hunting licenses. Six of the eight were charged with using walkie-talkies to help them track deer. It is illegal to use a radio or mobile communications device to track or hunt wildlife in Iowa.

The charge carries an $82 fine.

Charged are:

  • James Lewis, 35, of Iowa City.
  • Doug Eckrich, 32, of Oxford, also charged with no valid deer license.
  • Christopher Downes, 20, of Oxford, also charged with no valid deer license.
  • Keith Bryant, 36, of Williamsburg, also charged with possessing another person's deer tag.
  • Craig McNitt, 35, of Irma, Wis., also charged with two counts of taking illegal deer.
  • Monte Sparks, 32, of Broken Arrow, Okla., also charged with taking illegal deer.
  • Richard Bryant, 50, of Oxford, charged with unlawful transportation of a deer.
  • Dan Campbell, 36, Louisville, Ky., charged with taking an illegal deer.

Hunting with another person's deer tag carries an $82 fine; hunting without a deer license is punishable by a fine of $49.50; taking illegal deer, $147; no valid deer license, $147.

Jensen said McNitt will have to pay an additional $5,500 in fines - the value of the two deer he shot. His shotgun, valued at $800, also was seized.

McNitt will appear in Johnson County District Court on Dec. 22.

Campbell will pay $1,500 for the doe he shot. He will appear in Johnson County District Court on Dec. 22.

Sparks also had his shotgun seized and will pay $1,500 for a doe he shot. He is scheduled to appear in Iowa County District Court on Jan. 12.

"When you get 14 citations and four illegal deer ... it's pretty significant, I'd say," said Craig Jackson, DNR law enforcement supervisor.


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