By Steven Martens
A local mixed martial arts fighter and instructor has been fined and forced to surrender a vehicle and his hunting equipment after pleading guilty to charges related to poaching deer.
Spencer Fisher, 36, of Bettendorf was in a vehicle that was stopped in Mercer County in November, according to a news release from the Illinois Conservation Police. They helped investigate the case after Mercer County Sheriff’s Department deputies determined the occupants of the vehicle were transporting loaded firearms and had been hunting.
A total of 29 charges were filed against Fisher and his hunting companion, Christian Kinsey, 20, of Cashiers, N.C.
Fisher pleaded guilty Tuesday to six misdemeanor charges, including deer hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, deer hunting after hours, deer hunting using bait, taking a deer by use of an illegal method (rifle), unlawful possession of an illegally taken protected species, and deer hunting from a roadway.
Fisher was assessed fines and court costs totaling $3,602.
Kinsey pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor charges, including deer hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, deer hunting after hours, taking a deer by use of an illegal method (rifle), deer hunting from a roadway and deer hunting without a valid permit. He was assessed fines and court costs totaling $2,749.
Both men also were required to forfeit their vehicle, rifles and hunting equipment.
Fisher has fought in Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, events, and operated a gym in Moline called Team Evolution.
Fisher’s attorney, Steve Hanna, said his client cooperated with investigators from the beginning and was fortunate not to receive a harsher sentence.
“It was poor judgment,” Hanna said. “He knows that. He’s just glad to have it behind him.”
Fisher’s wife, Emily Fisher, 32, was charged with four counts of falsification to obtain resident hunting licenses and permits. Those charges are pending in Rock Island County Circuit Court.