Three men have been convicted of illegally shining and shooting seven deer in a Rock County Circuit Court case that Wisconsin’s conservation wardens initiated after a sheriff’s deputy made an important traffic stop.

DNR Conservation Warden Mike Dieckhoff, based in Rock County, says the investigation that led to the conviction of the three Rock County men last month is due to the vigilance of the County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Bittorf. Bittorf saw the men in action about 3:30 a.m. nearly one year ago.

“Deputy Bittorf spotted the two pick-up trucks with occupants that were shining into a field in December of last year,” Dieckhoff said. “The deputy then conducted a traffic stop and was able to determine the occupants were shining wild animals and deer while in possession of firearms.”

Deputy Bittorf collected the information and forwarded it to Wardens Dieckhoff and Boyd Richter, also of Rock County, for their multi-month investigation into the activities of the three men – ages 20, 22 and 23 – all of Rock County. They were doing most of their shining and shooting activities in the Arbor Ridge Subdivision just west of Janesville off County Highway A.

“The evidence we collected suggested that many more deer were shot at and missed, or shot and killed,” Dieckhoff said of the investigation that was a collaboration involving the wardens and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office Office.

The following were convicted:

  • Joshua Beyer, 23, of Janesville was convicted of seven counts of illegally shining seven deer. He was ordered to pay about $15,000 in fines, will lose his hunting licenses for 21 years and serve one year in jail.
  • Christopher Kummer, 22, of Milton, also was convicted of seven counts of illegally shining deer and faces approximately $3,000 fine costs. He will serve three years of probation for six counts and 30 days in jail on the seventh count. He also will lose his hunting licenses for 21 years.
  • Chris Taylor, 20, of Evansville, was convicted of two counts of illegally shining deer. He will pay about $2,154 for each count and lose his hunting licenses for six years. He will not serve any jail time.

Public’s help appreciated

“Poaching steals opportunity from law abiding hunters who practice safe, ethical, and legal hunting as well as to the wildlife enthusiasts. While in this case, it was a sheriff’s deputy who was in the right place at the right time, we encourage the public also to let us know when they see something that is suspicious,” Dieckhoff said. “We can’t be everywhere all the time. This is why we rely upon the public to be our partners in protecting our natural resources from violators.

To confidentially report possible wildlife, recreational and environmental violations, please contact the DNR’s Violator Hotline at: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. Anyone who provides information may remain anonymous.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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