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Stillwater Police: Two 'Responsible Hunters' Shoot Geese Out of Season, Dump Birds at Gas Station

March 15, 2012

By Shawn Hogendorf, Stillwater.Patch.com

After shooting two Canadian Geese out of season and then dumping the birds in a parking lot, an 18-year-old Baytown Township man reportedly told police he and his hunting buddy were “responsible hunters" and turned themselves in to "do the right thing.”
 
Two Stillwater area men were cited for shooting Canadian Geese out of season after an eyewitness reportedly saw the men try to dump the dead waterfowl in a Dumpster at Lucky’s Gas Station.
 
John Patrick Dierberger, 18, of Baytown Township and Benjamin John Vaage, 19, of Stillwater, were each cited on Wednesday for taking game out of season, a federal charge, and wanton wasting.
 
According to the police report:
 
A woman at Lucky’s Gas Station on Greeley Street saw the two men pull into the parking lot in a van, open the sliding door and then dump two Canadian Geese out of the vehicle and onto a parking lot stall.
 
The men then reportedly got back in the vehicle and left.
 
When police arrived, the officers found the two dead geese, which appeared to have been shot at a very close range.
 
The witness was able to provide police with a license plate number, so officers went to Dierberger’s home to speak with him.
 
As police arrived, dispatch informed the officers that Dierberger had called to say he dumped two birds at the gas station and wanted to talk with police.
 
The officer called the man by phone and set up a meeting at the police station. Dierberger told police he was downtown with Vaage and agreed to meet with police.
 
Dierberger told police he didn’t want to speak with a lawyer, but rather that he was a “Christian” and needed to “clear his conscience and take responsibility.”
 
Dierberger reportedly told police he and his friend, Vaage, were in a goose blind in Dierberger’s backyard in the 5000 block of Neal Avenue when the men shot the two geese.
 
After giving a conflicting report, the Dierberger eventually owned up to shooting one of the birds with a rifle while it stood in a mud puddle. The other bird was grounded by a shotgun shot from Vaage as it attempted to fly away, and then Dierberger reportedly killed it with a second rifle blast, followed by smashing the bird with a large rock.
 
After shooting the birds, the men allegedly brought the geese onto the deck to clean them. But after Vaage read the DNR Hunting Regulations online the duo realized they took the game illegally.
 
The men then told police they got nervous, put the birds in a bag—so the garbage wouldn’t stink—and drove to downtown Stillwater to discard them.
 
As the duo pulled into the gas station, Dierberger tried to drag the bag of dead geese out of the van, but the bag ripped and both birds spilled out onto the asphalt.
 
Dierberger told police, “He freaked out and didn’t know what to do.” He didn’t want to carry the dead birds by the feet in plain view, so he got in the van and the duo fled.
 
After thinking about what happened, the men each told police they had to clear their conscience because they were “responsible hunters and wanted to do the right thing.”
 
Both men reportedly had taken gun safety class together and have been hunting for years. Dierberger told police they thought they could hunt Canadian Geese during the early hunting season that started March 1—a season reserved for hunting snow geese.

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