Investigation Leads to Guilty Plea for Miami County, Ohio Deer Processor


An investigation into the selling of venison by Happy Jack’s deer processing recently resulted in a guilty plea in the Miami County Municipal Court, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Division of Wildlife law enforcement received information that Happy Jack’s was selling deer meat contrary to Ohio Administrative Code. The Division of Wildlife initiated a plain clothes investigation.  On multiple occasions during the investigation Happy Jack’s sold deer summer sausage and trail sticks to a Division of Wildlife Investigator.  A search warrant was obtained for Happy Jack’s facility and a large amount of deer meat in various stages of processing as well as records and a computer were seized and held as evidence.

On December 19, 2011 Jack W. Orth 68, New Carlisle, owner and operator of Happy Jack’s, pled guilty to wildlife charges stemming from a 2011 investigation into the selling of deer meat. Mr. Orth along with his attorney appeared in the Miami County Municipal Court before Judge Elizabeth Gutmann and pled guilty to one charge of the sale of deer meat and guilty to one charge of failing to keep accurate records.  As part of the sentence, Judge Gutmann ordered a $50 fine on each charge plus court costs, restitution in the amount of $350 and she also ordered that the deer meat seized during the search warrant be forfeited to theBethanyCenterinPiqua,Ohio.

Also charged in the investigation was Benjamin J Campbell 25, ofHuber Heights,Ohiowith sale of deer meat.  Benjamin Campbell appeared in the Miami County Municipal Court before Judge Mel Kemmer and pled guilty to the sale of deer meat.  Judge Kemmer ordered a $25 fine plus court costs.

On January 13, 2012 approximately 521 packages of deer trail sticks and summer sausage as well as 698 pounds of ground venison were donated to theBethanyCenterlocated at339 South Street,Piqua,Ohio45356(937)615-9762. TheBethanyCenteris an ecumenical non-profit organization whose purpose is to serve those in need. Their services include a soup kitchen, food pantry, and clothing bank.

A portion of the 698 pounds seized in the case had not been processed. Through the generosity of Ted Davis, Davis Meats inSidney, and the Shelby County Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited the processing costs and labor were covered and the processing of the venison completed.

Anonymous tips to the county wildlife officer from concerned hunters sparked the undercover investigation into illegal activities at Happy Jack’s. Hunters can also report wildlife violations to through the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) Program. Established in 1982 TIP allows Ohioans to call a toll-free number from anywhere in the state to report wildlife violations.  Calls regarding wildlife violations can be placed anonymously at 1-800-POACHER (800-762-2437).

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