Published - Wednesday, February 08, 2006
By David Brommerich / For the Daily News
A rural Mondovi, Wis., hunting outfitter lost his guide and hunting
rights for three years and must pay more than $5,200 for obstructing
justice and possessing an untagged deer.
A jury convicted David J. Peil, 56, of two offenses after a one-day
trial Feb. 2 in Buffalo County Circuit Court.
Peil and his son operate Buffalo County Buck Connection LLC, in rural
Mondovi, a business that sells deer and turkey hunting trips on about
2,500 acres of land the Peils own and lease.
Circuit Judge Robert Wing fined Peil $2,000 plus $2,109 in court
costs for having an untagged doe in his shed during the bow hunting
season in November 2004 when the county was under “earn-a-buck” hunting
Wing also fined Peil $500 plus $614 in court costs for obstructing
conservation warden Robert Jumbeck’s investigation of the case.
Peil’s hunting, fishing and trapping rights were revoked for three
years along with his rights to buy an annual license to guide hunters.
The 12-member jury spent more than three hours reaching a unanimous
verdict after hearing a day of testimony from witnesses who gave
opposite accounts of who possessed the untagged doe.
Peil claimed a bow hunter at his camp killed the doe Nov. 7, 2004,
about three days before Jumbeck saw it untagged in a shed on Peil’s
The bow hunter, Nicholas L. Walls, 26, of Gainsville, Ga., shot an
eight-point buck with his bow Nov. 8, violating a 2004 Earn-A-Buck rule
that required him to shoot and tag a doe before killing an antlered
Walls initially told Jumbeck he shot the doe with a bow and arrow
Nov. 7, but later recanted and said he didn’t know who killed it.
To cover up the violation, Walls testified, Peil told him to cut the
registration tag off the dead doe, re-tag it and register it along with
the buck he shot.
Photos of the doe taken by Jumbeck were shown to the jury as evidence
that the doe might have been dead for a week or longer based on the
condition of the carcass. Jumbeck said the dead doe had several slit
marks in both ears, suggesting someone tagged and registered it several
Peil testified that he wouldn’t jeopardize a $200,000 investment in
his outfitter business to violate hunting regulations.
Defense attorney Delton Thorson of Augusta, Wis., called a group of
witnesses who regularly pay up to $1,500 for a hunting trip at Buffalo
County Buck Connection. All testified that Peil had never suggested they
violate hunting regulations.
District Attorney Tom Clark told jurors that hunting for trophy bucks
was big money, more than enough reason to skirt the laws.
Thorson said evidence in the case showed reasonable doubt.
Walls and other witnesses for the prosecution were given plea
agreements in exchange for their accounts, Thorson said.
Clark urged the jury to see the larger picture.
“The case was about money, big egos and big trophies,” he said.