Man Pleads Guilty to Poaching $23,000 Trophy Buck
Largest restitution for a poached deer ever imposed in Ohio
A Scioto County man pled guilty to four wildlife violations in Adams County Court on Friday, April 30 and was ordered to pay $23,572.05 in restitution, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
Johnny B. Clay, 37, of Minford pled guilty to four charges including taking a deer in a closed season, hunting without permission, no hunting license and no deer permit. The Honorable Judge Roy E. Gabbert Jr. presided over the case and ordered Clay to pay $1,500 in fines, an additional $134 court costs, and to forfeit the deer as well as the bow he used to kill it.
In addition, Clay will lose his hunting privileges for life. Clay had 10 prior wildlife convictions for deer violations and has spent time in jail for several of those offenses. He will be entered into the Wildlife Violator's Compact and most likely will lose hunting rights in 33 other states.
The Division of Wildlife is also imposing restitution for the deer in the amount of $23,572.05. This is in accordance with Ohio's revised restitution law for illegal taking of white-tailed deer. The law went into effect March 2008 and allows the Division of Wildlife to seek an increased recovery value on all illegally harvested wildlife.
The typical trophy deer, scored according to Boone & Crockett (B&C) guidelines, netted an impressive 197 2/8. This deer was the largest typical white-tailed deer harvested in North America during 2009. In Ohio, this deer would rank fourth all time in the Buckeye Big Buck Club records.
Concerned citizens contacted Ohio Wildlife officers Chris Rice and Chris Gilkey about the questionable taking of the trophy deer in March 2010. Upon closer investigation, the officers discovered that the deer was unlawfully taken in Adams County, Ohio during 2009. Clay then checked the deer in as a Kentucky archery kill.
The Division of Wildlife is encouraging citizens to report any illegal activity they observe by contacting the TIP line. Tips may be phoned anonymously to 1-800-POACHER.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.
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