By P.J. Reilly
Walt Earl Stickley and Allen Glick already had three dead deer in the back of their pickup truck when they rolled into Lancaster County Central Park at midnight Nov. 1.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Dennis Warfel said the men went to the park to shoot more.
Unfortunately for them, however, Warfel happened to be sitting in the park on night patrol.
He stopped the two before they could fire a shot.
"The message we want to get out there is, we are out there watching," Warfel said.
Shackled and sitting in a wheelchair, Stickley, 50, of the 3800 block of Columbia Avenue, Mountville, on Tuesday appeared in District Judge William Benner Jr.'s office to plead guilty to several lesser charges and to waive his preliminary hearing on more serious offenses in connection with the Nov. 1 incident.
Part of Stickley's left foot is amputated, which is why he was in a wheelchair.
Glick, 49, no address given, has not responded to official requests to appear in court to answer for his alleged role.
According to court documents, Warfel was sitting in his vehicle in central park at 11:54 p.m. on Nov. 1 when he spotted a red beam of light sweep across a field.
Shining a spotlight on deer is a common activity across Pennsylvania, but it is illegal after 11 p.m.
The light was being shined out the window of a truck traveling on Golf Road.
Warfel stopped the truck, and immediately noticed blood on the tailgate.
He then saw three deer carcasses in the bed of the truck.
Warfel asked the men if there was a firearm in the truck.
When they said there was, Warfel ordered them to get out one at a time, and he handcuffed them at the rear of the truck.
He then recovered a scoped, .22-caliber rifle, with three rounds in the magazine and one round on the floor.
The affidavit said Stickley and Glick admitted using the spotlight and killing the deer earlier that night at White Clay Creek Preserve in southern Chester County.
Stickley shot the deer, while Glick held the light.
They said they went to Lancaster County Central Park to try to shoot another one, according to the affidavit.
Warfel also discovered that the license plate on Stickley's truck was stolen, and Stickley was driving with a suspended license.
Stickley and Glick both were charged by the Game Commission with three counts of unlawfully killing big game out of season, illegal spotlighting, unlawful use of a spotlight while hunting and illegal possession of a firearm in a vehicle while spotlighting.
Additionally, Stickley was charged by West Lampeter Township police with receiving stolen property and driving with a suspended license.
Stickley pleaded guilty Tuesday to all of the Game Commission charges, except for one count of unlawfully killing big game out of season.
He was charged an $800 replacement fee for each of the three deer killed, for a total of $2,400.
Because Stickley shot multiple deer, one count of unlawfully killing big game out of season was upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor.
Stickley will have to appear in Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas to answer that charge and both of the township's charges.
After Tuesday's hearing, he was taken back to Lancaster County Prison.
Warfel said he will try to permanently confiscate the .22-caliber rifle he removed from Stickley's truck Nov. 1, since that was the second time he confiscated the firearm.
Warfel cited Stickley in 2009 for spotlighting with that same loaded rifle in his vehicle in the Holtwood area.
"The people of Pennsylvania value wildlife, such as deer," Warfel said. "We're not just going to stand by while they are taken illegally."