Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2006

Eighteen people charged in illegal hunting probe

Posted on Thu, Mar. 23, 2006

Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Eighteen people were cited in connection with illegal hunting of deer and protected birds following what began as an investigation of a deer-processing business more than five years ago.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission launched the probe of the Huntingdon County business owned by Matthew R. Baker, 40, in December 2000 after receiving an anonymous tip about possible illegal activities at the site near the Raystown Lake recreation area.

Officials said Thursday the scope of the investigation rapidly widened.

"Once the inquiry began, the excessive and continuous violations at his business involving Baker and his acquaintances quickly expanded into other areas and at least one other business," said Greg Houghton, the commission's law-enforcement director.

Baker was among 16 adults and two minors who were cited on various charges on March 17, the commission said.

Baker's 18-year-old son, who also was charged, said he felt betrayed by the commission's two undercover agents, who befriended the family early in the investigation.

"They come up every Monday and they (watched) football and wrestling with us. They come to my high-school football games," said Matthew R. Baker II, a high-school senior.

Baker recently was convicted of eight counts of illegal possession of deer and ordered to pay $6,400 in fines.

Those charges, which were separate from the larger investigation, involved several untagged deer that commission officers found at his business while they were conducting a deer biology data inspection, the commission said.

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