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Ohio man to pay nearly $24,000 restitution for poaching trophy deer

Deer trophy recovered by Ohio wildlife officers. An Ohio man has been ordered to pay nearly $24,000 in restitution for illegally killing a trophy white-tailed deer. This is the largest restitution ever imposed in the state for deer poaching.

James C. Alspaugh, 39, of West Mansfield, Ohio, pleaded guilty to three charges, including hunting by the aid of a motor vehicle, shooting from a roadway, and hunting without permission, stemming from a December 2010 incident.

The non-typical trophy deer, recovered by wildlife officers after a concerned citizen contacted them about the shooting, scored 218 7/8 using Boone and Crockett Club guidelines.

In accordance with Ohio's revised restitution law for illegal taking of white-tailed deer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife imposed restitution in the amount of $23,816.95.  The law, which went into effect in March 2008, allows the Division of Wildlife to seek an increased recovery value on all illegally harvested wildlife.

Alspaugh was also ordered to pay $400 in fines, an additional $151.50 in court costs, and spend 48 hours in jail.

Alspaugh will also lose his hunting privileges for two years and, since Ohio is part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact -- an agreement that recognizes suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in member states -- will likely forfeit hunting rights elsewhere in the nation.

Wildlife poachers are the worst kind of hunters -- if they can even be labeled hunters. They steal resources belonging to others, with potentially damaging consequences, and tarnish the image of legitimate hunters. Hopefully learning that such large monetary fines may be imposed will make others think twice about committing such illicit activities.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Deer trophy recovered by Ohio wildlife officers. Credit: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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Comments (8)

Government wants to control everything americans are about. There are criminals which have hurt and killed people and all they have to do is spend time in prison not pay restitution.

i give kudos to ohio law enforement. im from indiana and on my families land we get alot of poachers. they have gone as far as shooting a deer a hundred yards from one of our houses before. i have walked to my stand one morning only to find a dead buck cape laying with in fifty yards of my stand before. poaching is stealing. a poacher is just a lazy you know what that cant take a deer the legal way probably because he cant handle being a real hunter.

The ODNR does a good job. But they seem to turn their heads in certain areas of Ohio. SE Ohio, Athens County, Meigs County, and Gallia Counties. I would like to see more officers in these areas before during and after hunting season. The cold winter months is when most of the poaching is done for deer and turkey.
Anyone caught poaching should have their gun and hunting rights revoked for life.

This guy was poaching by every equation of the law. He obviously saw the deer on private property, drove on the road where he could get a shot, and then shot and took the deer. Is that hunting? Is he to be classified a hunter? Not in my book! The fact that he harvested the meat from his illegally acquired kill doesn't make what he did any less offensive to us that are hunters. This guy is a thief and that is exactly what a poacher is. He is someone that steals from the rest of us and uses illegal means to do it. I don't find him any different than a poacher that shoots and kills for the hell of it. If he had done it because his family was starving to death and he had no other resource to feed them , I might be more forgiving. That isn't the case here.

I'm all against poachers, but Ohio's definition by the charges placed don't fall into my belief of poaching. He shot a deer from his vehicle without the owners permission. He had a license, shot the deer during legal hours and season, and processed the whole deer. Wasn't done at night, out of season or hours, and with no license. This sounds like a local hunter, that has clout with the local law enforcement, who is pissed of at the thought that a city boy shot a nice deer in his hunting area, before he could roll down his window and take the shot. Does everybody that hunts in Ohio have to pay the state a fee for shooting a trophy deer?

Booger: Who says it is the State's job to put venison or a walleye on your plate for the price of ground round? A $24 deer tag and a $19 resident hunting license or a $19 fishing license is cheap. Kids under 16 fish for FREE. Fish in a private pond and YOU can even fish for free. Give me a break. You're enjoying the wildlife and outdoors when you hunt and fish...not subsidizing the State. And Ummmm...Kings Island passes are $75 to $100 for each person depending on age and height. What a bargain!

Good job ODNR! Should have been revoked for life though.

"Wildlife poachers are the worst kind of hunters -- if they can even be labeled hunters."

Hunting in Ohio is a big money racket that the state is running. We are over charged to huntand fish so that the state can stock waterways and other wildlife species that attracts big money from out of state hunters who pay more money for one hunt than most Ohions make working an entire year. Ohio wildlife for Ohio ONLY and we don't have a problem paying our way.

NO offense to the "Nuge", but come on, by the time the backstraps hit my plate, they cost more than an aged Black Angus Steak from Omaha (including shipping).

I'm not advocating poaching or saying that these criminals are not criminals but the ODNR employs most of the worst offenders and pretend not to see it until they need some press. I'm tired of the corruption and double talk in Ohio.

Just to buy all the licenses and permits, tags (not including the the gear, guns or clothing) for my children and I to go fishing and hunting for one year the cost is astronomical. The ODNR promotes teaching the next generation to fish and hunt as if it something we can do at an amusement park with an annual pass. Season passes at Kings Island and Sea World and all the others combined is a steal compared to the return on what you can do in outdoor Ohio. It's over, the wildlife is gone, the fish are dead or dying or too poisonous to eat. The average Ohio family income can no longer afford to hunt or fish Ohio and I wish the state would stop trying to get me and all the other folks who can't afford it; to subsidize their wildlife management programs.

The apostle Paul said a runner must run by the rules or he does not win. This is an example of a man who went for the trophy, but played by his own rules. He won by cheating, and lost in the end. A good lesson for us all. Not only did he lose, he lost big with all the penalties. A life of regrets.


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.