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November 17, 2012

Four in Delaware face 85 counts in illegal deer hunting

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — Four Delaware County residents have been charged with a total of 85 violations for alleged illegal and out-of-season hunting, according to a media release from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The DEC arrested Stamford residents Daniel Tompkins and Matthew Jaquish, both 19, and Jonathan Brill; and Kurt Eckert Jr. of Harpersfield, 19, on Nov. 4. The arrests were part of a month-long investigation into incidents dating to 2011. 

The investigation revealed that 11 deer were taken illegally, with eight being shot at night from Sept. 3 to 24, the DEC said. Two of the deer were illegally taken during the 2011 hunting season, it said.

The following is a summary of the charges for each of the men: 

Tompkins: Nine counts of taking a deer with the aid of an artificial light (also called deer jacking), nine counts of possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, nine counts of discharging a firearm over a public highway, and two counts of discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, all misdemeanors; nine counts of taking wildlife with the aid of a motor vehicle, nine counts of taking wildlife from a public highway, one count of failing to maintain taxidermy records, and two counts of illegally taking wildlife/possession of wildlife except as permitted, all violations. The tickets are returnable in the towns of Gilboa, Jefferson, Harpersfield and Kortright.

Jaquish: Four counts of taking a deer with the aid of an artificial light, five counts of possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and one count of discharging a firearm over a public highway, all misdemeanors; five counts of taking wildlife from a public highway, five counts of taking wildlife with the aid of a motor vehicle, and one count of taking wildlife out of season, all violations. The tickets are returnable in the towns of Gilboa and Jefferson.

Jonathan W. Brill: Two counts of taking a deer with the aid of an artificial light, three counts of illegally taking whitetail deer, and one count of possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, all misdemeanors; taking wildlife from a public highway, a violation. The tickets are returnable in the towns of Jefferson, Harpersfield and Kortright.

Eckert: Two counts of illegally taking whitetail deer and one count of possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, all misdemeanors; one count of taking wildlife with the aid of a motor vehicle and one count of failing to report a whitetail deer take to DEC, both violations. The tickets are returnable in the town of Harpersfield.

Taking a deer with the aid of an artificial light and illegally taking whitetail deer both carry potential fines of $250 to $2,000 and up to one year in jail.

Possession of loaded firearm in a vehicle, the discharge of a firearm over a highway, and the discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a residence all carry potential penalties of $200 to $1,000 and up to 60 days in jail. All violations carry fines of up to $250 and 15 days in jail.

Suspicious hunting behavior can be reported to the DEC’s 24-hour hotline at (877) 457-5680.