By Kelly Burgess
An Ohio man has been ordered to pay nearly $24,000 in restitution for illegally killing a trophy white-tailed deer. This is the largest restitution ever imposed in the state for deer poaching.
James C. Alspaugh, 39, of West Mansfield, Ohio, pleaded guilty to three charges, including hunting by the aid of a motor vehicle, shooting from a roadway, and hunting without permission, stemming from a December 2010 incident.
The non-typical trophy deer, recovered by wildlife officers after a concerned citizen contacted them about the shooting, scored 218 7/8 using Boone and Crockett Club guidelines.
In accordance with Ohio's revised restitution law for illegal taking of white-tailed deer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife imposed restitution in the amount of $23,816.95. The law, which went into effect in March 2008, allows the Division of Wildlife to seek an increased recovery value on all illegally harvested wildlife.
Alspaugh was also ordered to pay $400 in fines, an additional $151.50 in court costs, and spend 48 hours in jail.
Alspaugh will also lose his hunting privileges for two years and, since Ohio is part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact -- an agreement that recognizes suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in member states -- will likely forfeit hunting rights elsewhere in the nation.
Wildlife poachers are the worst kind of hunters -- if they can even be labeled hunters. They steal resources belonging to others, with potentially damaging consequences, and tarnish the image of legitimate hunters. Hopefully learning that such large monetary fines may be imposed will make others think twice about committing such illicit activities.