By Aaron Becker
DNR officials now confirm at least 15 whitetail deer were shot illegally in an episode of “thrill killing” around rural Green Lake in late 2014.
This week, new charges were filed in Green Lake County County Circuit Court — more than 200 charges total split between two teenagers:
Grant J. Boese, 19, 1696 Tews Road, Ripon, faces 128 charges/violations related to the alleged shining and shooting of deer.
Steven L. Steger, 18, N6466 County Road J, Princeton, faces 74 charges/violations related to the alleged shining and shooting of deer.
Meanwhile, Cody T. Johnston, 18, N5644 Hickory Hill Lane, Green Lake, already was facing charges related to a high-speed chase after police zeroed in on a suspect vehicle.
All three have been cited with trespassing, too, which carries a $295 fine.
The Commonwealth had released all three names in December, when charges were filed against Johnston, and shortly thereafter when the trespassing citations came down. Now, this mountain of new charges is filed against Boese and Steger, specifically related to the alleged poaching.
Read the criminal complaint against Boese HERE.
Read the criminal complaint against Steger HERE.
Read the criminal complaint against Johnston HERE.
The 15 poached deer (at least four of which were bucks) were allegedly shot overnight in late November during the gun-deer season in rural Green Lake along such roads as County Road CC, County Road J, Northwest Road and Princeton Road. In the aftermath, the DNR sought to draw a distinction between legal hunting and wasteful killing of animals.
An excerpt from the criminal complaint reads:
“[During a police interview after his arrest,\ Johnston stated that on the 28th and into the early morning hours of the 29th that Boese had shot 11 deer out of the passenger window of Johnston’s truck, and every time Steve Steger held a light on the deer and Boese used a .270 rifle to shoot the deer ...
[In one instance\ Boese shot three deer in 30 seconds while Steger held a light on the deer. The deer were in a field on the north side of the road. Johnston told [police\ Boese seemed proud of shooting the three deer so quickly and made a comment about ‘shoot and drop’ and something to the effect of stacking them up. Johnston said a fourth deer was shot just down the road near the intersection of Northwest Road and St. Marie Road. Those four deer were shot within minutes of each other, and there was no attempt to pick them up. Johnston told [police\ that Boese shot deer on Princeton Road, and another on St. Marie Road near Snake Creek. Johnston said there was another deer off of [County Road\ CC by Mt. Tom in a field by a house ...”
The three teens went out again a second night to shoot more deer, Johnston told police. But by that time, authorities had received multiple tips regarding deer being shot and abandoned, and police were on the lookout.
On this second night, after receiving reports of late-night gunshots, police spotted Johnston’s truck around midnight near the intersection of County Road J, County Road CC and Swamp Road. Police believed it was the suspect vehicle and moved in.
At that time, Boese and Steger allegedly fled on foot, and Johnston allegedly led police on a high-speed chase with speeds approaching 90 miles per hour for about three miles. This led to Johnston’s arrest when his truck got stuck in a marshy area.
Now all three teens are facing charges.
Boese, in fact, was already on probation for DNR violations in Winnebago County.
In May 2014, Boese pleaded no contest to failing to obtain a deer hunting license and also discharging a firearm from/across a highway. A separate count of illegal shining was dismissed, but his hunting license was revoked for four years.
Boese, Steger and Johnston all are due in Green Lake County Circuit Court in February.