The Department of Natural Resources says five juveniles from three counties ended up facing charges after a lengthy investigation into several incidents of poaching in southern Iowa. Conservation officer Ken Kenyon of Marion County says they began investigating in October after reports of several individuals “rampaging” through Monroe, Marion and Mahaska counties at night shooting deer.
Kenyon says the individuals would usually just take the heads and antlers of the buck deer and leave the rest to rot. He thinks this was just a case of unsupervised teenagers who were out and things snowballed and continued to build as time went on.
No only did they shoot deer, but there were some cattle shot in the same area on some nights. Conservation officers filed 13 counts of hunting by artificial light, 12 counts of illegally taking deer, nine counts of wanton waste of wildlife, five counts of carrying a loaded rifle in a vehicle on roadway, five counts of hunting without a license, four counts of shooting a rifle from or over a roadway, two counts of illegally attempting to take deer and one count of unlawful transportation of deer.
Kenyon says the age of the people involved is unusual. He says it’s unlikely to see juveniles illegally shooting deer, but says the degree of what was done is bad for either juveniles or adults. Kenyon says they got help from several members of the public.
Kenyon says various game wardens got tip calls and they started looking into the calls and were able to narrow down where the activity was coming from. Kenyon says they want to let people know this type of thing is not acceptable. He says they want to send a message that they don’t want people out there doing this type of thing, while he says they also want a balance of having people out hunting and fishing and taking advantage of natural resources in the right way.
Kenyon says they are still working on wrapping up the final details of the case. So far, four of the juveniles pleaded guilty to 12 wildlife charges carrying fines of over $2,000, plus $10,000 in civil penalties for shooting two deer with antlers that scored over 150 inches each. The juveniles were also ordered to perform 80 hours of community service each and the suspension of their hunting privileges is pending. In addition two of the teens are being charged with two counts of injury to livestock, and two counts of 2nd degree criminal mischief, for killing four head of cattle in Mahaska County.