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177 5/8"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a word of advice to everyone: READ AND KNOW THE REGULATIONS!!!

I spoke with a friend of mine yesterday and he informed me of a situation he is currently in with the law. Wisconsin had a special T-zone season (10/28-10/31) in the middle of the archery season that was for doe only. My buddy was unaware that the T-zone season was in session and ended up killing a nice 8 pointer on Sunday night (10/31). To make matters worse, he is in an Earn-A-Buck zone and had not previously tagged a doe. He intended to register it and take it to the processor on Monday after work. As it turns out a neighbor must have seen what was going on and called him in. Monday morning the DNR showed up and took the deer. He then got a call at work requesting that he meet with the game warden. He left work and met with the warden. The warden took his bow and he will be charged with killing a deer out of season ("poaching"), which is a misdemeanor crime punishable by a $2000 fine and 3 year revocation of hunting privileges.

My question is, does anyone have any experience with this sort of situation (personally or by association), and is there a reasonable defense? The warden is calling him a "poacher", which I think is COMPLETELY out of line. To me this is the equivalent of keeping a walleye that is 14" long when the size limit is 15". While what he did is against regulations and is indeed wrong to do, he is not a "criminal". The whole thing was quite innocent. If last year's regulations were unchanged from last year warden would have congratulated him rather than charging him with a crime. I feel terrible for him and was hoping that someone here might be able to offer some advice.

Perhaps some punishment is in order, but the charges are FAR from reasonable, in my humble opinion. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-BagginBigguns
 

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What is a T-zone season?

Was he really going to register the buck the next day since he had not shot a doe yet?

I'm not trying to be judgemental. I'm trying to understand the regs that are different from where I am.
 

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He can't be legaly be called a poacher until/and if he is found guilty. He should have a court date and explain to the judge exactly what was going through his head at the time. The DNR officer will probably be there as well. He may get lucky- but the fact is-
He broke the law- and Ignorance is not a legal excuse... sorry..
Greg
 

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It's always difficult to look at a friend that you know obeys they law as a "criminal" but the rules are the rules and technically, he was poaching.

According to the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of a poacher is;
1: one that trespasses or steals
2: one who kills or takes wild animals (as game or fish) illegally

Technically, your friend was poaching. Let us know what the court says after his appearance before a judge.

Jon
 

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If he got a good lawyer, he could probably get out on a technicality or 2. I've seen outright poachers walk with a probation, no loss of hunting priviledges. Being his first time, he'll probably just get a wrist slap.
 

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Every situation and every state does things differently. If your friend has any other previous violations that won't help matters either. I don't know what to say because unfortunatly your friend has 2 strikes. 1 it was a T zone (which I'm not familiar with but obviously caould not shoot a doe) and 2 it was an earn a buck zone anyway. They may understand if it was he just overlooked the special season but the fact that it was an earn a buck zone anyway that's gonna be a tough one.
 

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Whats going to seal the deal is that he had not tagged/registered the kill. I can see a judge being lenient if he just came in and said I was licensed, completely legal, I was just stupid, didnt re-check the regs this year and just didnt realize that I was in a zone that required earn a buck and that T-zone business. If he had registered the kill (thereby turning himself in so to speak and proving he didnt know what he did was against the law), I think he would have been fine. As it stands, he is probably picked.
 

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The biggest problem I see is the Earn-Buck zone....now I'm completely ignorant to this but I'm assuming it means you have to kill a doe before he can shoot a buck, period? If it is this then he knew he was breaking the law when he squezed the trigger Sun evening?
 

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This is why you need to take a lawyer with you when you go hunting. I study the regulations year round and I still would bet that I could be arrested for something while out hunting. Always hunt like you are the hunted because you are.

I am to the point that I only hunt on my own property and if I didn't own any property I would only hunt rubber deer. It is just not worth all the hassle to me anymore.

Good luck to your friend but it looks like he is in violation of the regulations and the dnr has just made some more money which is what it is all about.
 

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All in all, Ignorance is not an excuse. I feel for your buddy, but he DID take a deer illegally. He should get a good lawyer. To me it is worth paying $500+ to be able to hunt the next three years, and not be labeled as a poacher. Let us know how it turns out.
 

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KYShooter said:
Whats going to seal the deal is that he had not tagged/registered the kill. I can see a judge being lenient if he just came in and said I was licensed, completely legal, I was just stupid, didnt re-check the regs this year and just didnt realize that I was in a zone that required earn a buck and that T-zone business. If he had registered the kill (thereby turning himself in so to speak and proving he didnt know what he did was against the law), I think he would have been fine. As it stands, he is probably picked.
I agree with KYShooter! It certainly looks like your buddy knew he had broken the law! Don't do the crime if you don't want a fine! $2000! Man I wish the Judges in Georgia would lay some of that on our poachers!
 

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177 5/8"
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just to clarify, this guy didn't know that it was T-zone or EAB. He knew about T-zone seasons, but didn't pay attention to the zoning because in previous seasons his zone was not EAB and bowhunters WERE allowed to shoot bucks during the T-zone seasons. He basically assumed wrong.

As for why he waited to register, I don't know for sure, but I imagine that the place that he would take it to have it processed was closed late on Sunday night, and therefore he chose to tote the deer around the following day when registration and drop-off could be done in one trip. I would have done the same thing. You get three days to register in WI.
 

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T-Zone regs

This is from the WI DNR 2004 Deer Regulations pamphlet:
"Question: If I shoot an antlerless deer within an Earn-A-Buck unit, during the October or December Zone T hunts, can I shoot a buck during this same season?
Answer: The October and December Zone T special hunts are antlerless only seasons. You can earn your authority to shoot a buck during this time, but you can't shoot a buck during these seasons. The only time you can shoot a buck would be during the regular 9-day gun deer (with a gun), during the regular archery season (witha bow), or during the 10-Day muzzleloader season (with a muzzleloader)."

This is in the "Zone T & Earn-a Buck (EAB) Special Deer Hunting Regulations" section, under "Earn a buck Frequently Asked Questions".

The guy didn't know the regulations (ignorance is no excuse, in the eyes of the law) and was hunting in an Earn-a-Buck zone before shooting an antlerless deer during a T-zone season when you can't shoot bucks. Everyone needs to be sure of the regulations. Take the time to read the regulations and, if you have questions, ask the DNR first.

I won't be surprised if other people get nailed since I've seen WI hunters with bucks they shot in T-Zone areas during the T-zone season.

Doesn't sound like he's got a leg to stand on, he didn't know the law and broke it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You know what I think is the most ironic thing about this? The zone where he shot the deer is part of the CWD Erradication Area where the DNR is trying to drastically thin the herd. My buddy shoots a deer, thereby furthering the DNR's objective, and they charge him with a crime. Yeah I know - ignorance of the law is no excuse. He should have known the law. Nevertheless, it seems counter-productive to me. I hope they let him off with no further penalty than losing his bow. I think that's penalty enough. $2000 and three years?! Under the circumstances, that's absurd!
 

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It's the DNR FORCING deer herd management to get a surplus of does out of the herd, leftover after decades of the "only shoot bucks" mentality. I think this is the first year for the EAB-zones, correct me if I am wrong (not that I ever have been ;-) ) but the T-zone hunts have been going on for a few years, I believe.
 

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as a wisconsin resident in my opinion you would have to be totaly inept to not have heard enough about t-zone and earn a buck to bother checking the regulations

was it legal for him to soot that buck?

no- it was out of season

killing out of season = poaching
 

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There are a lot of things that need to be cleared up.

1. How does the warden know where he killed the deer? He could of shot it in a non EAB unit. Unless someone actually saw him shoot it or he admitted to where he shot it. They have to prove that he is guilty of shooting it in a EAB unit.

2. You can hunt during Zone - T season with a bow, but you must wear the legal amount of Blaze Orange just as if you were gun hunting.

3. Did he tag the buck? It would at least look better for him if he had tagged it.

4. Did he realize that he had made a mistake before the Warden came, if so he should of called the DNR and he would of most likely not had any problems?

I just find it hard to imagine that he didn't know he was in an EAB unit, this has been a hugh subject all over the state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
cmherrmann said:
There are a lot of things that need to be cleared up.

1. How does the warden know where he killed the deer? He could of shot it in a non EAB unit. Unless someone actually saw him shoot it or he admitted to where he shot it. They have to prove that he is guilty of shooting it in a EAB unit.
He told me that he signed a written statement. I assume that mean he's basically admitted guilt.

2. You can hunt during Zone - T season with a bow, but you must wear the legal amount of Blaze Orange just as if you were gun hunting.
I don't know. There was no mention of it. I assume he would have mentioned it if the warden nailed him for it.

3. Did he tag the buck? It would at least look better for him if he had tagged it.
He did tag the buck. It was business as usual since he was ignorant of the offense.

4. Did he realize that he had made a mistake before the Warden came, if so he should of called the DNR and he would of most likely not had any problems?
He didn't know until the call from the warden. I think he still would have had plenty of trouble.

I just find it hard to imagine that he didn't know he was in an EAB unit, this has been a hugh subject all over the state.
He was assuming that things were the same as 2003. I don't see it as hard to believe.
 
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