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WI: man convicted of hunting while drunk

August 5, 2010

Rural Eau Claire man convicted of hunting while drunk

A rural Eau Claire man has been given the option of a jail term or community service for hunting while intoxicated in the Eau Claire County Forest on the opening day of last fall's gun deer season.

Jeffrey L. Hakes, 45, of the town of Washington, pleaded no contest Wednesday in Eau Claire County Court to a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

Judge Paul Lenz gave Hakes the option of spending five days in jail or performing 40 hours of community service. Hakes also must pay court costs.

Lenz ordered the rifle to be returned to Hakes' father. Hakes' attorney, Michael Rajek of Eau Claire, described the gun as a family heirloom.

According to the criminal complaint:

A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden said he saw an open can of beer by Hakes' rifle, which was on the grass next to him, at 9 a.m. Nov. 21 along a trail on Channey Road in the town of Bridge Creek, north of Augusta. The warden said the area included a high number of hunters.

Hakes told the warden he just opened the beer. Hakes said he had been drinking until 3 a.m. and then slept for an hour before driving to the forest.

Hakes told the warden he was sure he was intoxicated. Hakes' rifle, which was loaded, was seized. Hakes asked the warden if he could just surrender his gun and get a ticket.

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