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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2005

ABILENE MEN ACCUSED OF ILLEGAL DEER HUNTING

ABILENE, Texas Two Abilene men face felony charges alleging they illegally hunted deer -- then cut the heads off to sell the antlers on the Internet.

The Parks and Wildlife Department says the men allegedly shot the animals from vehicles on state parks and private property, then left the carcasses to rot.

Authorities believe 38-year-old Jerry Neil Schmidtt and 33-year-old Matthew Ross Cates could have killed up to five animals per night during hunting seasons since 2003.

The state jail felony charges pertain to the deaths of three deer in five West Texas counties in recent months. Undercover agents accompanied the pair.

Each man also faces misdemeanor charges of hunting at night.

Both suspects were arrested yesterday.

Schmidtt's bond is 127-thousand dollars.

Cates, who's free on 74-thousand dollars bond, didn't immediately return a call for comment.

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