Barre, VT – Vermont State Game Wardens have charged five men in connection with a deer poaching spree that occurred on the evening of Saturday, October 22nd and continued into the early morning of Sunday the 23rd.
After a lengthy investigation, meat from illegal deer was seized from three residences in Bristol Village. Also retained were several deer hides, tools, an electric chainsaw used to cut up the deer, three rifles, and the head of a 7-point buck that was shot illegally. The three rifles used by the poachers were a .22, a 30-30 and a 30-06.
Beginning late Saturday night, the poachers shot approximately eleven separate times while jacking deer in Lincoln, Ripton and Bristol. Four deer were confirmed killed, the last being shot on Carlstrom Road at approximately 4:30 a.m. One deer was not recovered by the poachers due to landowner intervention, and it is possible that several other deer were injured. The four confirmed deer killed were: a “button-horn” buck, a yearling doe, an adult doe, and a 7-point buck.
Initially called by a concerned citizen of Lincoln, wardens investigated a number of crime scenes where deer were shot at along several miles of back roads and meadows. The first call reporting the shots occurred after a person was awakened by gunshots close to their home just after 1 a.m. As the investigation developed, more witnesses came forward.
Not only were the poachers actions illegal, but extremely dangerous as well. Deer were shot at from a pick-up with the aid of a hand held spotlight, at times while the passenger sat on the door window-frame and fired over the roof of the truck. At least three of the shootings occurred in close to occupied homes and with unsafe backstops for the high-powered bullets.
The five men involved are ordered to appear for arraignment at Addison County Court in Middlebury on January 23rd. They are Steven Clark of Bristol, Israel Clark of Bristol, Collin Bell of Bristol, Adam Josey from Richmond, and Dana Lathrop from Florida, formerly from Bristol.
They face a variety of charges which may include taking big game by illegal means, possession of deer in closed season, spotting and locating deer, and shooting from a vehicle. Fines could be as high as $500 with $1,000 restitution for each deer killed. They may also lose their licenses for three years and be required to take a remedial course before having a hunting license again.
Anyone who witnesses a Fish and Wildlife crime is asked to report it immediately directly to the local Game Warden by calling the state police dispatch or dialing 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378).