While there is nothing unique or awe-inspiring about illegally killing a wild animal, one recent case of poaching in the state of Texas has put a spin on the punishment involved.
As jail time for such offenses continues to gain steam as a mainstream penalty and is often paired with hefty fines, a 34-year-old Texas man is learning this fact the hard way.
In one of the state’s more bizarre poaching cases of the 2017 hunting season, images of a massive 19-point buck made their rounds, eventually catching the eye of Texas Game Wardens.
The Rumor Mill
As rumors began to swirl surrounding the bruiser buck, game wardens were treated to specific information leading them to believe the prospective shooter’s story just didn’t add up.
A brief investigation led Texas officials to John Walker Drinnon of Whitesboro who went on to tell wardens that the 19-pointer was shot on public land in neighboring Oklahoma. As skepticism clouded the account Drinnon offered, officials obtained trail camera imagery of the deer in question on the Texas side of Lake Texoma, contradicting the man’s claim.
The Big Guns
As the investigation heated up, Texas game wardens enlisted help from both the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together, the trio of agencies was able to build a case strong enough to force a confession from Drinnon. Without so much as a leg to stand on, Drinnon admitted to killing the trophy-sized deer from a public roadway using a rifle in a bow-only hunting area.
After Drinnon offered his confession, he was subsequently charged with taking a deer without landowner consent, hunting without landowner consent and hunting from a vehicle. Additionally, the 34-year-old was hit with citations for lack of a hunting license, hunting from a public roadway, an absence of hunter education and illegal means and methods for taking wild game.
Pleading guilty to the felony charge of taking a whitetail without landowner consent, Drinnon was handed $18,048.10 in civil restitution for the deer which scored at over 200” using Boone and Crocket measuring methods.
Additionally, he was ordered to spend every weekend of hunting season in jail for the next five years, while on probation and will be prohibited from purchasing a hunting license for the entire tenure of his punishment.