Hunting Accident File > Violations

AL: Eight Baldwin County teens charged with hunting violations

Eight Baldwin County teens charged with hunting violations

January 22, 2011

SPANISH FORT, Alabama -- Eight teenagers — five over the age of 18 and considered adults — are facing hunting-related charges that they shot deer from Jimmy Faulkner Boulevard in Spanish Fort just before midnight on Jan. 14.

According to Baldwin County court records, Andrew L. Dunnam and Branden Durant Gay, both of Daphne; Gerald B. McKenna and Michael P. Johnson, both of Bay Minette; and Brittney Scott of Spanish Fort were charged with one count each of hunting after dark and hunting from a public road. All five are 18.

Victor Calhoun, Staff photographerSpanish Fort police Chief David Edgar said there isn't a deer alive, no matter the size of its rack or how bad you need the meat, worth the potentially bad consequences of shooting a high-powered rifle near houses day or night.

The fine for hunting deer at night is $2,000 to $3,000, up to six months in jail and a three-year revocation of hunting privileges. A conviction for hunting from a public road charge could result in a $1,000 fine on the first offense, $2,000 for the second offense and a one-year loss of hunting privileges, said District 5 chief conservation enforcement officer Capt. Kenneth Blalock.

A .30-30 caliber rifle and 12-gauge shotgun were confiscated as part of the investigation, said Clem Parnell, one of the arresting conservation officers.

The 18-year-olds, who were allowed to leave the scene under $2,000 appearance bonds on each charge, are due in District Judge Jody Bishop’s court on Feb. 28, according to records.

The three juveniles, who were released to their parents’ custody that night, were charged with the same two offenses, Parnell said, though fines in those cases will likely be reduced in Juvenile Court if those involved are first-time offenders.

Parnell said he and fellow conservation officer Thad Holmes were working a night-hunting detail near Bay Minette when they received a call from the Spanish Fort Police Department at about 11 p.m. that “people were riding up and down Jimmy Faulkner Boulevard shooting deer.”

While driving to the scene, Parnell said they also talked to a resident of the Stone Brook subdivision who reported seeing someone shoot a deer that ran into the woods.

Parnell said Spanish Fort police Sgt. Steve McGough blocked the road near David’s Catfish House restaurant while Holmes and he traveled south from Bromley Road.

Apparently, Parnell said, an off-duty Spanish Fort officer lives in Stone Brook and heard the shot. Parnell said the officer left his home in an attempt to locate the shooters and later assisted McGough.

While checking vehicles exiting the road, Parnell said McGough noticed a rifle in an SUV with four or five teenagers inside. Parnell said that within a short period of time, the teens became nervous and indicated they’d been involved.

They also revealed that three others who had been traveling in a second vehicle were still in the woods looking for a wounded deer. After a cell phone call was placed to one of them, they were persuaded to come out to the road where they were picked up at about 11:45.

“Basically, we told them ‘it’s time to come out or we’re coming in to get you,’” Parnell said. “They were ready to come out. It’s thick and nasty in there where they were and they only had small lights.”

Parnell said Holmes and he later tracked the wounded doe for more than an hour before the animal finally quit bleeding. He said she likely survived.

“Night hunting’s been an ongoing problem there, but this is the first time we lucked up and caught them,” he said. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of the Spanish Fort Police Department.”

Parnell said he doesn’t know what prompted the incident. There was no evidence that alcohol was involved, he said.

Spanish Fort Police Chief David Edgar said Friday that shooting deer near residential areas isn’t worth the consequences.

“Shooting a high-powered rifle around houses any time presents a serious public-safety concern, let alone doing it at night,” he said. “There’s not a deer out there worth a bullet going through a window and striking an innocent person in their home. I don’t care how big the rack is or how bad you need the meat, it’s not worth it.”.

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