OH: Hunting deer at night with a spotlight from a vehicle -- does the punishment fit the crime?
Hunting deer at night with a spotlight from a vehicle -- does the
punishment fit the crime?
9:12 AM, May 20, 2009
Throughout nearly 20 years on the outdoors beat, I have often wondered
why wildlife poachers get away with such light punishments after they are
caught. These days, however, penalties seem to be stiffer, and appropriately
Outposts recently reported on a California man who received a lifetime
hunting ban in 31 states for illegally killing a bull elk in Oregon.
This week, an Ohio man is facing six months in prison and a three-year
hunting ban for killing deer at night from a vehicle while using a spotlight
to illuminate his quarry. Andrew T. Thompson, 22, of Newcomerstown, also was
ordered by a judge to compose an apology to legitimate sportsmen in the
It read, in part, "I chose to act without thinking and put many people's
lives at risk including contributing to putting our very own wildlife in
Thompson, who was with family members and tried to elude game wardens,
was found guilty of felony counts of fleeing authorities and improper
handling of firearms in a motor vehicle. He also was found guilty of
spotlighting deer and illegal possession of deer parts. His hunting license
and driver's license were revoked for three years, and his rifle and vehicle
Jesse W. Thompson Jr., 31, was found guilty of spotlighting and improper
transport of a firearm. He was ordered to pay $500 in court costs and
surrender his firearm, and his hunting license was suspended for three
years. Ernest W. Thompson, 36, was similarly punished.
Are the punishments too harsh, too light or just right? I tab the latter.
Freezing deer in headlights and shooting them, which is the essence of
spotlighting, is cowardly and should not be tolerated.
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