Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2006

Man can't sway judge of innocence in deer hunting case

by Thomas Fraser
of The Daily Times Staff

A Louisville man acting as his own attorney argued unsuccessfully Friday that he was not guilty of hunting deer over bait.

James D. McCoy Jr. was charged in November after being caught by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Wildlife Officer Jeff Pearce in a tree stand on his farm between Meadow View and Wayne Bryant roads with a high-powered rifle near field corn and whole-kernel corn scattered along a tree line.

Pearce had periodically investigated the area after discovering the bait.

McCoy represented himself Friday before Blount County General Sessions Court Judge David Duggan. His arguments -- which saw frequent objections from Assistant District Attorney General Nichole Bass -- failed to persuade Duggan he was innocent of the charges.

He was found guilty, and lost his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for two years. He was also fined $500, assessed court costs, and had his hunting rifle confiscated.

``For a wildlife case, that's a pretty good penalty,'' said Wildlife Officer Joe Everett after the conclusion of the trial. ``Judge Duggan has taken the stance that wildlife is an important part of our society, and he feels that just because it's the type of case that doesn't involve what people consider to be regular criminal activity, it shouldn't be treated any less severely,'' Everett said.

``He takes our cases just as seriously as any other cases. It makes it real nice to bring cases in front of him,'' Pearce said of Duggan. ``It gives you a little more drive to get the job done. He stands behind you if you bring enough proof to him.''

Two other wildlife cases were reset on Friday -- one for the second time.

The first involved the cases against 16 men accused of hunting black bears over bait on two private property parcels in late September near Tallassee and the Foothills Wildlife Management Area.

The other involved multiple illegal hunting and wildlife possession charges against Bobby Lee Koons and Rhonda Bryant Koons. The Tallassee couple were allegedly found in possession of deer, bear, boar and turkey parts at their home earlier this month. The possession of parts charges were leveled against Bobby Lee Koons; Rhonda Bryant Koons was charged with one count of giving false information.

Both the bear-baiting and wildlife parts cases were reset for 9 a.m. April 28 in General Sessions Court.

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