Pennsylvania Game Commission: Tioga County Residents Face $100,000 In Fines; York County Resident Sentenced To Up To 10 Years In Prison
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers (WCOs) Rodney P. Mee and Rob Minnich recently filed charges on two Tioga County residents for a weekend poaching spree in which a total of eight whitetail deer were found shot and left lay to rot.
Beginning on Friday morning, Feb. 24, through Monday morning, Feb. 27, Zachary Ryan Zimmers, 21, and Michael Wayne Hinman, 24, both of Morris Run, were out driving around, spotting and shooting deer and then leaving them lay.
"Fortunately, witnesses called in descriptions of events and vehicle used," said WCO Mee. "Deer and evidence were found on scene which helped in locating the violators. The last known deer shot was an eight-point buck."
This was the break the WCOs needed, as a passer-by saw Zimmers and Hinman stopped on the road and thought something was suspicious. The passer-by stopped, got good descriptions of the vehicle, license number and suspects, and saw the deer in the field with a fresh bullet hole in it. The witness then called the Game Commission.
"The truck had an out-of-state license, so local law enforcement agencies were made aware that the vehicle was wanted by Game Commission WCOs as a suspect vehicle in the deer shootings," said WCO Minnich. "Again, fate was on our side, as the suspects got the truck stuck the next morning in a local park. The witness was called to identify the vehicle and, when he was there, the suspect walked up to us, thereby providing us with an opportunity to obtain a positive identification."
WCOs Mee and Minnich noted that this case was a waste of the resource, but more unsettling was the total lack of concern for safety of others, as deer were shot in front of homes, next to homes, across roadways and from the roadways.
Zimmers and Hinman were charged with multiple charges of Title 34 (Game and Wildlife Code) and Title 18 (Crimes Code). At least 34 charges were filed on each individual, including; unlawful killing or taking of big game (deer); unlawful devices and methods (use of a vehicle); having a loaded firearm in a vehicle; unlawful use of lights while hunting; shooting on or across highways; shooting within a safety zone; and conspiracy.
If the maximum penalty is assessed on all charges, Zimmers and Hinman each face fines, court costs and restitutions in excess of $100,000, as well as 19 years in prison and 99 years of hunting license revocation.
"Thanks to all the concerned citizens who took the extra time and effort to observe, call and get involved, otherwise they may still be out doing this and getting away with it," WCO Mee said.
YORK COUNTY RESIDENT SENTENCED TO UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON
Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Darren David announced that Brian Dale Waugh, 39, of Dover, York County, recently was sentenced to a three- to 10-year prison sentence after being charged with various crimes stemming from a night-time poaching incident off of Rife Road in Reading Township, Adams County, on Dec. 26.
Waugh, who is a convicted felon not allowed to possess any firearm, was involved in shooting a deer from a motor vehicle using a rifle and spotlight, with two juveniles (ages 11 and 15) in the vehicle at the time. He also was in possession of marijuana.
On April 2, Waugh entered into a plea agreement with the Adams County District Attorney's office, after being incarcerated, since Jan. 4, at the Adams County Prison following a felony arrest warrant served by Game Commission WCOs.
In the same incident, Todd Edgecomb, 38, of York, York County, was the driver of the vehicle that night, and has been charged jointly by the Game Commission and Reading Township Police Department with corruption of minors; driving under the influence of alcohol; possession of marijuana; unlawful use of lights while hunting; taking big game in closed season; hunting through the use of a motorized vehicle; loaded firearms in a vehicle; and spotlighting for wildlife after lawful hours. Edgecomb's preliminary hearing still is pending.
"I hope news of this will send a sobering message to other would-be poachers out there, especially those who would also involve alcohol, drugs, and worst of all – children," WCO David said. "This type of activity not only represents a significant theft of our precious wildlife resources and corruption of youth, but is a serious danger to all involved as well as the public."
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