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VT: Londonderry men admit role in deer hunting operation

Londonderry men admit role in deer hunting operation

February 4, 2008
By JOSH O'GORMAN Herald Staff

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION A pair of Londonderry men pleaded guilty to hunting deer out of season after they were caught in a Fish and Wildlife sting operation, with one of the men pretending to be his own brother to avoid charges.

Lee W. McIntyre, 46, and Rodney A. Hart, 56, each pleaded guilty in District Court to one count of taking deer out of season. In addition, Hart pleaded guilty to one count of providing false information to a law enforcement officer with the intent of implicating another.

In an affidavit filed with the court, Fish and Wildlife Warden George Scribner wrote that on Oct. 27 at about 6:10 p.m. he placed a replica of an antlerless deer in a field on private property on Holden Hill Road in Weston. Scribner said he had received three different complaints of people hunting illegally in the area.

On the date of this operation, it was only legal for hunters to take antlered deer using archery equipment.

After placing his decoy, Scribner hid in the woods next to the field with a pair of binoculars, and after five minutes McIntyre and Hart arrived in a red Oldsmobile with Hart behind the wheel, Scribner said.

Looking through his binoculars, Scribner said he saw a rifle poke out from the passenger side of the car before hearing a single gunshot. Scribner ran out of the woods and approached the vehicle on the driver's side from behind and surprised Hart and McIntyre, who were looking at the still-standing deer, Scribner said.

"I identified myself and both turned my way and the passenger stated, 'That was stupid,'" Scribner wrote in his affidavit. "I saw the driver try to conceal a can of beer on the floor and then next to his right leg on the seat of the car."

Scribner said he asked McIntyre to unload his rifle and step out of the car. Scribner later found a spent rifle casing in a baby's car seat behind the passenger seat, he said.

Scribner said subsequent investigation revealed McIntyre had been convicted of taking deer out of season in 1983.

Scribner said when he asked Hart to step out of the car he could smell alcohol on Hart's breath, and when he asked Hart his name Hart gave the name of his brother, Rodney Hart, and told Scribner his birthday was Sept. 9, 1948.

Hart told Scribner he was borrowing his brother's car, which actually belonged to him, and when Scribner ran the registration it came back as belonging to Rodney A. Hart, Scribner said.

A breathalyzer test revealed that Hart had a blood alcohol content of 0.1 the legal limit in Vermont is 0.08 and Scribner offered to let Hart call someone to come and pick up the car so it wouldn't be towed, Scribner said.

Hart said he would call his sister-in-law Ruth Hart to pick him up, Scribner said. Ruth Hart arrived and drove the Oldsmobile home, with Scribner following behind so he could bring her back and pick up her own car, as well as Hart and McIntyre, Scribner said.

As the two were driving back Scribner said he asked Ruth Hart for her husband's date of birth and she told him it was Sept. 9, 1947. Scribner said he became convinced the man he knew as Ronald Hart was actually Rodney Hart.

When Scribner and Ruth Hart returned to the scene, Scribner confronted Rodney Hart about his false identity. Hart confessed he was actually Rodney, not Ronald Hart and told Scribner he had lied because he didn't want another DUI charge, Scribner said.

"I asked Rodney whose date of birth he had given me and he stated that he had used his brother's," Scribner wrote. "I advised that he had missed it by one year and he stated, 'I was close.'"

McIntyre was given a $400 fine for hunting out of season, with Hart facing $742 in fines for hunting out of season and providing false information.

Contact Josh O'Gorman at josh.ogorman@rutlandherald.com.

   

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