A Johnson County man admits to deer hunting and animal carcass dumping violations
A southern Illinois man has pleaded guilty to poaching white-tailed deer.
An investigation by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources conservation police and other agencies found 58-year-old Jerry Stafford of Vienna entered a negotiated plea on January 6 to one count of unlawful take in connection with the illegal harvest of 8-point and 12-point wild white-tailed deer. He also pleaded guilty to one count of open dumping for improper disposal of animal carcasses. Both are Class A misdemeanors.
Stafford operates a “high-fence” shooting facility, where customers pay money to shoot raised or imported game mammals in a fenced area, which officials say runs counter to the principles of fair-chase hunting.
According to investigators, Stafford’s guides took clients outside the high-fence area to hunt deer in the wild. Investigators documented violations including outfitting or guiding without a permit, uncased firearms in vehicles, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and the use of lights, hunting before legal shooting hours, hunting without permission, and violating tagging requirements.
During their investigation, police found an illegal dump site where wildlife killed on the property had been disposed of over a lengthy period. Runoff from the site flowed directly into a nearby creek, creating a risk of disease transmission.
Stafford received two years court supervisors and he was ordered to pay $20,200 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.