An investigation into the illegal harvest of a trophy whitetail buck in November 2021 has resulted in a man losing his hunting and fishing privileges for three years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced on August 14. While wardens are celebrating the bust, they couldn’t get to the poacher before he entered the large whitetail in multiple local hunting contests, showing off what he claimed was a perfectly legal archery kill. The buck had a green score of around 218 inches.
DNR credits the bust to an anonymous tip the agency received through its Violation Hotline. Two game wardens, Matthew Groppi and Shawna McDowell, subsequently contacted suspect Douglas D. Meyers, 61, about the buck harvested near La Crosse, Wisconsin. Meyers, of Coon Valley, told the wardens that the buck was legally shot with a crossbow during the state’s archery season. But the wardens later learned that Meyers illegally shot the deer with a firearm, not a crossbow.
“Through the wardens’ investigation, evidence revealed [Meyers] shot the deer with a rifle, had placed illegal bait on the property to attract deer and had used a relative’s license in previous years to continue hunting after harvesting two other bucks,” the DNR reported.
At first, Meyers said he shot the deer three times with his crossbow from roughly 25 yards away, according to court documents published by WXOW. But Meyers eventually revealed that he used a rifle instead of a crossbow to kill the trophy buck behind his garage. He then stabbed the dead buck with a broadhead arrow in the bullet wound to make it look like the animal had been taken legally with a bow.
Meyers pled guilty to all charges according to La Crosse County Circuit Court records, in exchange for a plea agreement stipulating a three-year suspension of his Wisconsin hunting and fishing privileges. Officials also notified the organizers of the local hunting contests that Meyers’ buck had been illegally taken, and his contest entries were removed.
A court hearing for Meyers’ deferred violations is slated for June 20, 2024.
“We appreciate the teamwork from citizens who care about the state’s resources and want them protected,” DNR lieutenant warden Tyler Strelow said. “It is important to take action against individuals who are stealing from those who hunt the Wisconsin way—legally, safely and ethically.”
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