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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2006

Three men charged with illegal hunting

CARL LINDQUIST - The York Dispatch

The Pennsylvania Game Commission, with the help of deer DNA testing, has charged three men with the possession of illegal deer in southern York County last year.

The men were allegedly out hunting in the Delta area before the firearm season began last year. When Game Commission officers heard shots, they responded and allegedly found the men on an ATV that was carrying loaded rifles, according to the commission.

The men were wearing camouflage, and officers found nine baited tree stands in the woods directly behind a nearby house, according to the commission.

When questioned, the men denied shooting deer out of season, according to Guy Hansen, a wildlife conservation officer for the Game Commission.

Two of the men lived in the nearby house and another lived in Maryland at the time, Hansen said. Since the incident, one of the men who lived in the home has moved to Maryland and another moved to the Fawn Grove area.

"They lied to us for quite some time," Hansen said. "It wasn't until days later that we finally found exactly what was going on. We were met with nothing but resistance on that initial evening."

The commission officers found one deer that was allegedly shot that evening, Hansen said. They then searched a "butcher shop" inside the home and found other deer parts, some of which appeared to have been from recently killed deer. Some processed meat in a freezer was not yet frozen, Hansen said.

Deer parts and samples of the meat were sent to the University of Maine, which tested them for DNA. The testing found DNA from three more deer, in addition to the full deer carcass and three skull caps found in the "butcher shop," Hansen said.

Had the samples not been sent out for testing, the commission would only have been able to charge the men with up to four counts of possession of illegal deer -- one for the deer carcass and three counts for the three skullcaps found in the home -- instead of seven, Hansen said.

If found guilty, the men will be responsible for the cost of the DNA testing. Charges in the incident were filed Tuesday against:

--- Robert O. Fewster, 29, of Fawn Grove, with one count of loaded firearms on a moving vehicle and seven counts of possession of illegal deer. Total fines could reach $7,300 if he is convicted.

--- James L. Fewster Sr., 49, of Baltimore, with one count of false and fraudulent statements, one count of loaded firearms on a moving vehicle and seven counts of possession of illegal deer. Total fines could reach $7,600.

--- Ronald C. Wade, 55, of Halethorpe, Md., with one count of false and fraudulent statements, one count of loaded firearms on a moving vehicle and one count of possession of illegal deer. Total fines could reach $1,600.

-- Reach Carl Lindquist at 505-5432 or clindquist@yorkdispatch.com.

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