By Susan Bromley
A Groveland Township man who poached a deer in October will not serve jail time, but will lose the right to hunt for the next three years and has been ordered to pay more than $2,500 in restitution and fines.
Nidal Khalil Haddad pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to taking a deer without a license and 52-2 District Court Judge Kelley Kostin ordered him to pay $2,000 in restitution to the state for the animal, said Arthur Green, district law supervisor and acting lieutenant for the Department of Natural Resources. Additionally, Haddad will pay $100 in attorney fees, $500 in fines and costs, $75 to crime victims rights and $100 for probation costs. He lost his hunting privileges for the remainder of 2014, can't legally hunt for the next three years, and is on probation.
A resident of the Astor Knolls subdivision in the township called the DNR poaching hotline at about 8:20 a.m., Oct. 10, after hearing a gunshot. A conservation officer responded to investigate, ultimately ticketing Haddad.
"The officer went to the address given by the complainant and recovered the remains of a six-point buck illegally taken with a firearm during archery season," said Dean Molnar, assistant chief of the DNR law enforcement division.
Legislation passed in 2013 has stiffer penalties for those who take antlered deer out of season. Previously, the law stated a person found to have taken a deer illegally was subject to up to five days in jail, fines and costs set by the court, loss of hunting privileges for the year convicted, as well as the next three years, and was also required to pay $1,000 in restitution to the the state.
With the new law, all of those penalties stay in place, but if the deer in question is a legal antlered buck (with at least one 3-inch antler), a poacher will automatically pay an additional $1,000 in restitution, and if the buck is an 8-, 9- or 10-point, there will be an additional $500 charge per point. For example, with a 10-point buck, an illegal hunter could potentially pay $7,000 in restitution. For a buck that has 11-points or more, it is $750 per point.
Green noted the law was enacted to deter trophy hunters. Poaching, he added, is an ongoing problem.
"If you see anything that you think may be illegal activity, get a description of the people involved, a vehicle description and a license number if you can do it safely and call the poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800."