Two local men find deer poaching costly
By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor
These six deer heads were recovered and tagged as evidence in last November’s poaching case here in Allen County. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officers seized these and other evidence in a search of a rural Allen County residence in 2008. Two men were charged and found guilty of poaching the deer.
A year ago reports of illegal deer hunting in Allen County were coming into Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Officer Jason Deal. Throughout November 2008, Deal investigated the complaints.
On Nov. 26, 2008, several KDWP officers executed a search warrant at a rural Allen County residence. Several items relating to the illegal taking of whitetail deer were seized during the search of the area.
The Register contacted Deal in December 2008 about the investigation. Deal said at the time that it was an ongoing case and he couldn’t comment, but would once it was resolved.
The case was not resolved until late this summer.
Patrick T. Cash, LaHarpe, and Cory D. Culler, Gas, faced 75 counts of wildlife violations in Allen County District Court. Cash was 19 and Culler was 18 at the time of the charges.
Deal said after negotiations with the defendants, each were charged and pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal hunting, one count of taking/possessing trophy whitetail deer without a permit, one count of taking deer by illegal means and one count of hunting deer with the aid and use of artificial light.
“However unfortunate the case, it should be noted that the individuals accepted responsibility for their actions,” Deal said.
“From a law enforcement point of view, that seems to be a rare occasion. Following through with the requirements of probation will be a true test of one’s commitment.”
Cash and Culler were each sentenced to 30 days in Allen County jail for each count of criminal hunting. Both counts were suspended for 18 months of supervised probation with court services.
Each was fined $5,000 made payable to KDWP Wildlife Restitution Fund. Their hunting privileges were suspended for five years and they must pass a Kansas hunter education class prior to renewal of hunting privileges.
Cash and Culler were ordered to write letters of apology to be published by the Register and the Kansas Bow Hunters Association. Also they must write an essay on “Hunter Ethics and Responsibilities” for use in educational topics.
Both were ordered to perform 100 hours of community service in coordination with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Cash and Culler also were ordered to forfeit all illegal property seized by the KDWP, the spotlights and the Remington Model 700 30.06 rifle used illegally in the offenses.
On Friday Deal said he knew that Cash and Culler had written the letters to be published in the Register and the essays. He said Cash had paid some of his $5,000 fine and had done a few hours of community service.
I want to start off by saying that I was required to write this apology letter, but if it would not have been a requirement I would still of written it because what I did deserves an apology. As you read my letter I would like you to know what you’re reading is truly how I feel and is not being said to just get out of an assignment.
By now it probably is no surprise that I poached deer. But I would like to clarify my poaching incident and disclose or confirm suspicion. My poaching streak was short-lived, it was about a two-week per-iod at the end of October and beginning of November. In that period of time I shot 6 deer and Cory Culler spot lighted. We cut the heads or antlers off and that’s all we kept. We didn’t keep the meat or even try to dispose of the deer.
Speaking for myself, I was very foolish, greedy, unethical and irresponsible. I would like to start off by apologizing to the hunters, because I could have very likely shot their deer that they been tracking all season. It is not fair for me to cheat when they are out there obeying the law and doing it the right way. I would like to apologize to all of the youth, because if the deer population suffers a decline in years to come by poaching what will the next generation and the youth of today hunt. I had no right to take away any future opportunity to hunt from the hunters and those future hunters. Because if everyone poached like I DID then there would be no deer for future hunters to pursue.
I would like to apologize to the farmers for trespassing and causing a disturbance at night. I would also like to apologize to the general public for causing a disturbance in the community and elsewhere.
And to answer a question everyone, even myself, is wondering, is why I did it. I did it because I wanted a big buck to brag about — just one. But when I shot the first one I said let’s get one bigger and I said the same thing after the next deer I shot and in a matter of a couple of weeks I have six deer heads, and then I realized I can’t brag about this. I couldn’t brag about something everyone looks down on. I, myself, and I think Cory did too, felt very guilty about what we did and we stopped two weeks before we were caught.
I am NOT sorry for getting busted, it sucks that I have this label of a poacher but I feel that I am a better person because of it. And even that I got busted after we quit poaching I can now say I am truly sorry and I’m doing the best to pay for my mistake. Now I don’t always have to look over my back hoping I don’t get caught, because it won’t happen again.
Dear citizens of Iola:
I would like to first start out by sincerely apologizing for my actions in relation to the poaching incident that took place a few months back.
I know there are a lot of questions as to why I did what I did and the truth is I really don’t know, but I do know I was not using my head. I was looking for a cheap thrill and against my better judgment I did something that I can not take back. I know there have been many other people that have poached but not to the same extreme. I do not think people would be as angry or upset if we would not have done it to the extent that we did.
I have learned a much needed lesson, however difficult the lesson may have been, the incident has enabled me to grow up. I can promise that I will never do anything like this ever again. In all honesty I really think I deserve the comments and anger that have been directed toward me by the public. But I can’t emphasize enough how truly sorry I am and if anyone has any questions at all I encourage them to call me at 620-228-7050.