Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2006

Bad Axe man pleads no contest to hunting violations


STACY LANGLEY , The Huron Daily Tribune

BAD AXE - A Huron County hunter is facing jail time along with fines and possibly losing his hunting rights for the coming hunting season and three additional years after he pled no contest to a number of hunting violations this week.

A trial was scheduled for Tuesday in Huron County District Court to hear evidence in the prosecution's case against Rodney G. Koglin, 40, of Bad Axe.

But on Monday, in a plea agreement with the Huron County Prosecutor's Office, Koglin pled no contest to four of the five misdemeanor charges he was facing.

Koglin pled no contest to three counts of taking more than two deer during the season. At the time of sentencing on April 5, District Court Judge Karl E. Kraus could sentence him to 5 to 90 days in jail, fines of $200 to $1,000 per charge, the cost of prosecution, $1,000 for each of the deer and revocation of Koglin's hunting license for a number of years.

Koglin also pled no contest to a fourth count of allowing his then minor son to hunt without an adult. That charge carries a possible sentence of 90 days in jail and/or a $25 to $250 fine, cost of prosecution, and the revocation of his hunting license for the remainder of this year and additional years to be determined by the court.

A fifth misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of tags for the firearm deer hunting season is to be dismissed at the time of sentencing.

Huron County Prosecutor Mark J. Gaertner credited the Department of Natural Resources for doing a "remarkable job" investigating the complaints his office received concerning Koglin.

"These conservation officers, (Robert Hobkirk and T. Scott Brown) put a ton of time into investigating this and used a number of resources - even using DNA to matching antlers with the deer's capes," Gaertner said. "This case is so significant because it fits a pattern of behavior by Rodney Koglin over a number of years, and based on that pattern of past behavior, activity and information that has been provided to me, I don't believe I've come across a person that has been involved to this extent.

"When you look at the large number of trophy racks that he had just during the 2004 hunting season it raises a number of questions. And even though these are misdemeanor counts he pled to, it sends a message and has an impact on other hunters and farmers who have come into contact with him."

Hobkirk and Brown searched an area taxidermist and seized a number of hides, antlers from six 8- to 10-point bucks and even a bullet belonging to Koglin during their investigation. They also searched Koglin's home and found what Huron County Prosecutors described as "42 sizable mounted dear heads and antler plaques."

Koglin's attorney David B. Herrington said "this case began and ended on rumor and gossip. And based on that rumor and gossip, the DNR pursued Mr. Koglin with a vengeance.

"He ultimately entered a plea to some technical DNR violations. As a tax payer I am concerned about the thousands and thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours spent on the original investigation that produced zero evidence."

The original complaint Herrington said DNR officers received was a claim that involved the killing of a specific trophy buck.

"They executed a search warrant, interrogated his wife and two children, one of which was at school at the time," he said. "This one particular alleged incident was never charged. The DNR sent bullet and animal specimens in for DNA and ballistics testing that yielded no evidence. They alleged some deer tagging violations that Koglin ultimately pled no contest to. He did purchase the permits."

Herrington said his client pled no contest only after being threatened with a possible a felony conspiracy charge with his two sons.

"Until then he had intended to make the DNR prove their case. He decided that his best course of action was to enter a plea of no contest rather than expend substantial personal resources and time on the threatened felony charge," Herrington said. "Mr. Koglin has yet to be sentenced, and I am confident that he will get a fair sentence. He has no previous criminal record including any hunting violation convictions."

Koglin is scheduled for sentencing on April 5 in Huron County District Court.

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