By Wes Bunch
A Kingsport man who previously served jail time for unlawfully killing wildlife is facing a variety of new poaching-related charges, with police saying this time he was observed shooting turkeys from his car on a road in Scott County, Va. Ernie McMurray, no age given, of Kingsport, was charged by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office with two counts of killing a turkey during closed season and one count each of shooting wildlife from a vehicle, shooting across a road, trespassing to hunt and unlawfully hunting on Sunday.
The charges are all considered misdemeanors. The alleged incident occurred March 24 on Eaton Hill Road in the Hiltons area of Scott County. The first official day of turkey hunting season, however, was April 13.
McMurray was arrested and charged March 28. According to police reports, he was driving along Eaton Hill Road when he spotted wild turkeys in an adjacent field and stopped his car in the road to shoot them.
"He shot them right from the road, out of his vehicle," Scott County Sheriff John Puckett said. While McMurray was shooting at the turkeys, Puckett said a deputy with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office drove up and observed the incident.
Warrants for McMurray’s arrest were taken out by Puckett several days later following statements that were given by the deputy.
If found guilty, McMurray could face fines and court costs, as well as be forced to give up his hunting license and guns for at least a year.
McMurray is due to appear in Scott County General District Court on April 25.
Puckett said McMurray was previously charged with poaching four deer and four turkeys. As a result of those convictions, he was fined $500 for each animal killed and given a 30 day jail sentence with 29 days suspended.