Benjamin McCoy, 20, of Amherstdale, was cited for allegedly falsifying where the deer was killed.
"On Oct. 25 of 2007 he killed a buck, I believe a 7 pointer on the Wylo Strip in Logan and he checked it in as a Boone County bow kill," Sgt. Terry A. Ballard told The Logan Banner. "Of course, you are only allowed one buck in Logan County. He checked it in as Boone so he could hunt for a bigger buck in Logan. That case was investigated by Cpl. Rockel and Officer Harvey.
"On Nov. 7, 2007, on the Wylo Strip area he killed a 16 point buck with his bow, and checked it in as a Logan County bow kill. That second buck was illegal. For his violations he was charged for failing to game check in Logan and for the 16 point buck he was charged for exceeding bag limit for deer in Logan and illegal possession of a deer. The failure to game check charge was dismissed in Magistrate Court. He plead guilty to the other two charges relating to the 16 pointer and was fined $20 on each charge plus $165 on each charge for court costs and was assessed a $200 replacement fee for the deer."
Two other men were allegedly caught jacklighting deer by the DNR rangers.
"This next guy really got under my skin," Ballard said. "On Dec. 7, 2007, myself and officer Harvey caught Brian Sutphin of Clothier and Bobby Shelton of Clothier. I got called out at home that night. Some guys were raccoon hunting up on Blair Mountain. They saw a light shining and heard rifle shots. They called me, and I called Harvey. We knew where they were at and we blocked them in. They were coming out of the hollow and we saw their lights. Harvey pulled up to stop him and they drove around him in their truck, heading up the mountain towards me. That road is very narrow, so I knew they would not get around me. They ran up towards me but I had them blocked. They pulled up like they would ram me, but didn't...they had an uncased 6mm rifle and a roof rack over their heads. They had a 9 point buck’s head cut off at the neck also. When we got them out of the vehicle and searched it, we found the head and the tenderloins in the tool box in the back of the truck...they left the rest of it to lay and rot."
Ballard noted that many poachers claim they are killing game illegally for food, however most of them leave the majority of the meat behind and take a head or antlers, which often get sold as home or office decor.
"We questioned them and found out Brian killed a 10 point buck in Boone County during hunting season and he did not even have a hunting license. That meant that deer was taken illegally. We talked to Bobby and found he also killed a buck in Boone County and he did not check his 8 point deer in at all.
After we finished on the mountain, we drove to Bobby's house to get the Boone County racks and we found another deer head cut off at the neck out in his yard. It was a 9 pointer, I believe. He said it was a road kill that he cut the head off of. Of course, he did not have tags for that one either.
"For Brian, the stuff we caught him on that night, we charged him with spotlighting with a weapon, taking deer with a firearm in a closed county, illegal possession of wildlife, and hunting from a motor vehicle. The first two charges were dismissed. On the other two he was fined $20 on each charge and $165 in court costs on each charge, and a $200 replacement fee. He was also cited in Boone County for he deer he killed and assessed on those charges.
"For Bobby's troubles he was cited for spotlighting with a weapon, hunting from a motor vehicle, illegal possession of wildlife, and hunting with a firearm in a closed county. Spotlighting and hunting from a vehicle were dismissed and he was assessed the same penalties, $20 each with $165 in court costs and a $200 replacement fee. He was also charged for illegal possession of wildlife and failure to game check the deer head in his yard. He was also cited in Boone County for the deer he killed in gun season. Myself, Officer Harvey and Officer Goodson from Boone County worked on that case."
Ballard said he was disappointed that the stiffest charges were dismissed at the courthouse, and noted that real outdoorsmen who spend a lot of money in West Virginia to hunt legally are upset when poachers get off lightly.
"On the spotlighting charges, we caught these guys red handed. That is supposed to carry a $100 to $500 fine and 10-100 days in jail. That charge was dismissed without even talking with us. I guess that was a deal cut between the prosecutor and magistrate. Some serious stuff was dismissed and these boys were caught red handed. Until people lose their freedom over things like this the message won't get across."
You can report incidents of poaching in West Virginia by calling 1-800-NET GAME.