By Beth Braden
Four men accused of deer poaching now know their fate following a hearing in Campbell County’s General Sessions Court.
Just before Halloween, Campbell County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Vann stopped a vehicle in the Deerfield area following complaints of poaching. The vehicle, driven by Phillip Ray Johnson, 132 Sun Lane, LaFollette, also contained three other occupants. Johnson was arrested that day on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to Matt Cameron, TWRA’s public information officer.
Scott Fields, one of the Deerfield Resort owners, said the group snuck onto resort property while the guard was off-duty. Four deer, including a fawn with its spots, were killed, Fields said.
Poaching is hunting game not in season. Deer season for gun hunters in Tennessee didn’t begin until Nov. 29 — a month after the alleged incident.
Last Tuesday, Johnson was ordered to pay $250 in fines plus court costs and his hunting privileges were revoked for two years. He also forfeited a shotgun, a bow and a knife, according to Cameron.
A second occupant, Kenneth Walden, pleaded guilty to possession of big game and was assessed court costs only.
Two more unnamed occupants, believed to be juveniles, were given six months probation for their cooperation with prosecutors, Cameron said.
Charges by the landowners including trespassing and hunting without permission must be heard by a grand jury before indictments can be issued.