It was December 11, 2016, when an Iowa man spotted the deer of a lifetime in a cornfield. What would have been the conclusion to a perfect, hard-earned hunt, was anything but in this case.
Brett Cranston, 41, spotted the deer from his vehicle, and after retrieving his shotgun, fired at the deer from the side of the road. After his initial shot did not bring the deer down, the Jefferson man continued his pursuit of the animal with the help of his vehicle, embarking on a nine-mile journey filled with stops and roadside shooting, that would eventually end with a dead deer in a cornfield.
The subject, a whitetail buck, was one of trophy caliber and was likely the chief reason Cranston decided to take the animal the way he did, illegally. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the buck’s antlers green scored in excess of 200 inches.
Cranston subsequently pleaded guilty to three charges directly related to illegally taking a deer including, trespassing while hunting, using a motor vehicle to hunt deer and shooting within 200 yards of a residence. In addition to the three charges, Cranston’s hunting privileges have been suspended for 12 months, his shotgun forfeited and he was fined $665.45 and assessed $8,000 in liquidated damages.
The deer was also forfeited to the Iowa DNR.
Cranston did not act alone in this brazen act of wildlife poaching, his accomplice, Jeramiah Pedersen, 42, who aided him in pursuing the animal, also pleaded guilty to not having a hunting license and trespassing while hunting deer. He was also fined in the amount of $416.