A Michigan man was in jail on accusations of domestic abuse when he was interviewed as part of an illegal hunting investigation, officials said.
The investigation began in February 2022 after the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division received multiple tips accusing the man of poaching, according to a Jan. 27 news release.
Investigators found that from Oct. 1 through Dec. 24, 2021, the man had taken at least 11 deer, officials said. Three of those deer were taken on Oct. 1, the first day of archery season.
It is believed he was "tagged out" - meaning he did not have the tags to legally kill a deer - within the first week of the year's archery season, according to the release. Within the first three days, he had let two of the deer spoil, making them ineligible for processing.
Conservation Officer James Nason interviewed the hunter, who admitted he's "not the most ethical hunter," according to the news release.
Authorities said the man was hunting without a license, killing deer at all times of the day and illegally baiting deer. He "also obtained other people's deer tags to cover his illegal deer, if he even tagged them at all," according to the release.
The man told the officer that he'd also tag other people's deer kills, but added, "I don't care - I am addicted to the venison," officials said.
He also said some of the deer in his possession were ones that were injured, according to the release. He said the deer then died near his hunting spot.
Officials said he also hunted in areas without the proper permissions in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, according to the release.
"Sure, I love to kill deer," the man said during the interview. "If I could kill more I would, to be honest with you."
The 55-year-old man was arraigned this month on 10 poaching-related charges, officials said. The accusations include taking deer outside of legal hunting hours, hunting white-tailed deer without a license, using other people's hunting licenses, taking too many antlered deer and possessing antlered white-tailed deer without kill tags.
"This is an excellent investigation of a poacher who shows no respect for the resource or the ethics of fair chase," Chief Dave Shaw, with the DNR Law Enforcement Division, said in the release. "Violations of this type deprive law-abiding people of their opportunity to have access to and enjoy a public trust natural resource, in this case white-tailed deer."
The man is serving 18 months of probation after being convicted of aggravated domestic assault, officials said. He's scheduled to reappear in court next month for the charges filed by the Department of Natural Resources.
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