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OH - Man in deer poaching case loses license, told to write apology

Man in deer poaching case loses license, told to write apology

MOUNT GILEAD, Ohio (AP) -- A judge ordered a man to pay $3,200, write a letter of apology to state wildlife officials and spend 20 days in jail for shooting deer outside of deer-gun season.

David Sheppard, 19, of Marengo, also was fined $200 and had his hunting license taken away for life.

Sheppard and some friends were accused of using spotlights to poach eight white-tailed deer with shotguns out of season last year. They either sold the carcasses or traded them for drugs, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony charge that he illegally bought or sold Ohio wildlife and was sentenced Monday by Morrow County Common Pleas Judge Robert Hixson Jr.

A friend of Sheppard's, David Hamlin, 19, also of Marengo, pleaded guilty to one felony and several misdemeanors. He is to be sentenced in January. Others involved pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and were told to pay fines.

The state always is pleased to see judges take hunting violations seriously and impose jail time, said Ken Fitz, law enforcement supervisor for District 1 of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

"It's a public safety issue," he said. "Just by nature, hunting violations often bring along dangerous behavior."

About 400,000 hunters are expected take to the fields when deer-gun season starts Monday and runs through Dec. 2, with another weekend of hunting Dec. 15-16.

Mount Gilead is about 40 miles north of Columbus.

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