I know in this day and time many problems consume our society and some things may seem to be trivial by comparison. However as a landowner, longtime hunter, member of West Virginia Bowhunters Association, supporter of the Wounded Warrior Program and member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, a situation has come about that I feel has been absolutely dismissed without any meter of justice served to and for landowners and sportsman, nor has any regard been given to our natural wildlife resources. These are important issues to many of us.
Several weeks ago on a Sunday morning from an isolated area and prior to the opening of the deer firearms season, a fellow, we’ll call Poacher 1, accompanied by a guy we’ll call Poacher 2, crossed my family’s property without our permission with the intent of hunting illegally on our neighbors private ground which they also had no permission to be on.
They were caught in the act by our local DNR Law Enforcement officer and charged. They would later appear before Magistrate Jackie Casto in the Jackson County Courthouse.
Poacher 1 killed a TROPHY deer with a rifle out of season on property in Cottageville, WV. My understanding is that while the State of WV has a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.00 for killing trophy deer out of season, Poacher 1 and Poacher 2 (who has previously been charged with poaching) were literally relieved of any responsibility for their actions and were allowed to retain their hunting license’s. It is my understanding that Poacher 1 was found guilty on the least possible charge and Poacher 2 had all charges dismissed against him. That’s right… no points off their license and no double fines for Poacher 2 as is mandated by current code.
Trespassing, hunting out of season, no written permission, poaching a trophy deer and allowed to maintain hunting license?
It is my understanding that these charges can be reinstated and appropriate reasonable penalties be accessed. I would implore the Prosecuting Attorney of Jackson County, Katie Franklin and Magistrate Jackie Casto to please review this situation and ask that, at least, some semblance of justice be served to the landowners and sportsmen of Jackson County. We have all been violated and there should be some consequences for it—don’t you think?
Perhaps a call or email to the magistrate and prosecuting attorney's offices would be helpful too.
Magistrate Jackie Casto: email@example.com (304) 373-2313
Prosecuting Attorny Katie Frankilin: firstname.lastname@example.org (304) 373-2270
On average, the more rural a county is the higher the prosecution rate it has and the more urban the lower the prosecution rate is but there are some exceptions to the rule .
I know Colonel Jenkins who is the head of DNR LE attends state Magistrate meetings to explain the need for prosecution in game and fish related violations. He also has personally visited problem area since.
The only way to help correct this is for sportsmen to voice their displeasure in large numbers. These are both positions that are elected to their office by voters in their respective counties.
He told me several years ago, the only thing he despised more than poachers was state officials calling him with arm-twisting Gestapo tactics. He wrote the whole ordeal down.