I just cannot get over just how dumb some people are. It’s almost as if they took college courses on how to be really dumb.
But based on the number of notes I receive asking for more of them or saying how much they enjoyed a Dumb Outdoor Crooks column that I wrote, many of you folks really enjoy them. And since I am a firm believer in job security, here is another installment of really dumb outdoor crooks.
The king of all dummies
If your significant other calls police for a domestic dispute, you might think twice about maintaining evidence of an outdoor crime, right. But that is exactly what happened recently in Decatur, Michigan.
And shortly after the police arrived and secured the situation, they called the Michigan Department of Environmental Conservation officers and asked them to respond to that location quickly.
They arrived and were escorted to a barn located on the complainant’s property. And they were literally floored by what was hanging inside. They found nine buck deer hanging in that barn. And every one of them would be considered to be a trophy!
But wait! It gets better. The officers have statutory authority in all domestic disturbance complaints to inspect all structures on a property to ensure there are no other individuals (or children) hiding while seeking safety. And with this evidence the conservation officers were able to close out many citizen complaints about a pickup truck driving through fields while shining lights and shooting deer.
This case got a lot weirder (if that was possible) when the officers ran a radio check on the man. It seems this poacher has a prior DNR record from 2018 for illegally taking and possessing a whitetail deer.
That means his hunting license days are history. And his prior criminal (felony) records include possession of methamphetamine, third degree fleeing a police officer and a third offense of driving a vehicle while under the influence of liquor (also a felony).
Our boy was arraigned on Nov. 9 in the local court, and was bound over for trial with no bail. And as for his poaching those nine bucks, in addition to his fines and forfeitures to be determined in court in February, he must pay up to $59,000 in restitution to the state. And Michigan will collect that money.
No one is above the law
Here is another type of dumb outdoor crook story that causes me to have mixed emotions. It involves Javarrea Pouncy, an off-duty police officer in Louisiana (Coushatta Parish). And it seems he enjoyed deer “hunting.”
The problem was that he apparently enjoyed it just a tad too much.
He was caught while jack-lighting deer, but that was the least of his worries. He had three cohorts in his car when he was stopped after a light was projected out his window, a shot was fired, and a deer dropped dead.
At the stop by a Louisana State game warden, the first thing the warden noticed was that the four men were in a parish police car. The warden got all four men out of the suspect vehicle, searched and disarmed them, and ran their names through NCIC.
He discovered that one of them was a convicted felon, and was not permitted to possess the firearm that the warden took from him. And he also did not possess a hunting license either.
Javarrea also did not have a hunting license. Neither did the other two. And they were caught on private property where and when the poaching occurred. The parish police chief of the police department, Kevin Stafford, has suspended our poor misguided officer indefinitely until this matter has been fully investigated.
That reminds me ...
That case reminded me of the time my partner (and boss) Tom Sechrist and I came across a DEC “employee” while he and his son were hunting with another man and his son along the southwest part of Cayuga Lake. We did not have any idea who they were since we were up on a bluff while they were hunting along the lake’s shore.
We observed them as they hunted ducks during the late season. And we observed them as they shot at several flocks of ducks, killing several scaup and a goldeneye. Then a flock of redheads flew by and they fired two shots, killing two of those ducks.
We watched them retrieve both and return to shore near their blind. Then we observed one of the men take both redheads over to some trees and hide them.
Why did they hide those ducks? Well, that year both redhead and canvasback ducks were in short supply, and they had suffered through a really bad breeding Spring. The Federal biologist then closed the hunting season on both species. And these two hunters were obviously aware of what species they had killed and that there was no season on that species.
Well, that was enough for the two of us to go down and end their hunt. And let me tell you, going down that hillside was really a tough hike. But we made it safely (except for my butt) and approached the blind silently as we are prone to do.
And I wish you (the readers) could have seen the expressions on their faces. And at the same time I’m sure the expression on Tom’s and my faces when we recognized the high-ranking DEC Region 7 employee facing us.
Well, we pulled a full field check of both adults (the two boys were not hunting) with gun plugs, steel shot shells, licenses and duck stamps. All appeared to be in order. Then we checked their ducks, and noticed they were one shy of a two person lawful limit.
Tom then asked if they had any other ducks to declare? And they both said “no” to that question. But I noticed one of the youngsters turn away to look at the side of the blind’s wall.
Tom broke the silence when he asked the DEC employee to go get the two redheads that they hid over by the trees. The man did as requested, and that put them one over the legal limit. I asked them who already had a limit and killed the extra duck. And the DEC guy fessed up about the over-limit.
We wrote the DEC guy two tickets and the other gunner one (for his redhead kill). And the DEC guy caught up with us as we were leaving and was almost in tears as he explained that he could lose his job if this was reported.
I explained that he would receive two citations in the mail. If he paid the fines, then the case would be closed at that point and no one would be notified of anything. (That was our standard procedure with all violations in NY).
Addendum: Somebody did squeal (but not Tom or I) and that high ranking DEC official got one month of free, unpaid vacation.
Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: When it comes to dumb outdoor crooks, this poacher may take the crown