A pair of poachers have been fined $20,000 for illegal hunting in Pratt County and property used in the incident has been seized.
Two men from Missouri, currently college students in Pratt, face fines totaling $18,200 and restitution of over $,300 after pleading guilty to seven separate Kansas wildlife violations.
The pair, Hunter Bottcher, 20 of Otterville, Mo. and Samuel Hawieson, 20 of Sedalia, Mo. pleaded guilty to: Criminal Hunting, Hunting with the aid of an artificial light, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, illegally taking trophy big game deer, hunting without valid deer tags, taking wildlife after legal hours and illegal ammo for taking big game, said Pratt County Attorney Tracey Beverlin.
District Magistrate Judge Richard Raleigh sentenced the men Oct. 24 to 60 days in the Pratt County Jail and placed both on a 12 month supervised probation. They were ordered to pay fines in total of $18,200 and restitution for $4,361. The size of the deer determines the amount of restitution.
Beverlin said these were pretty egregious crimes and Pratt County has no tolerance for this type of behavior.
As a result of their actions, the hunting licenses for both men are suspended in 47 states and the equipment used in the crimes along with the two illegal deer heads are forfeited, Beverlin said.
Kansas Game Warden Jason Harrold said the weapon used was an AR 556 that uses full metal jacketed bullets. Hunters are not allowed to use full metal jacket bullets to hunt deer and that was the reason for the illegal ammo charge.
Harrold said he received a call from a concerned citizen on Oct. 3 about a headless carcass found at SW 60th Avenue and SW 40th Street. Working with the Pratt County Sheriff's Office, the two agencies were able to locate the two perpetrators, who are both students at Pratt Community College, had illegally taken two big game trophy deer with an inside spread over 16 inches and, Beverlin said.
The case was turned over to Beverlin who filed the complaint in Pratt County District Court. Beverlin said Harrold's work and attention to detail were instrumental in obtaining convictions in this matter.
Harrold said the concerned citizen that called was instrumental in solving the case. It took a lot of detective work to locate the perpetrators. The deer evidence helped point law enforcement in the right direction.
"Thanks to the observant local members of the community who observed and reported this wasteful illegal killing of our wildlife," Harrold said.