Ralph Fowler, 44, of Eastbrook, Maine is heading to jail on the heels of facing a slew of criminal charges.
50 charges to be exact.
Of those 50 charges, 46 of them accounted for hunting-related violations.
Accepting a plea bargain with the Hancock County district attorney’s office in court this week, Fowler ended up pleading guilty to 26 charges in total, with the remaining charges being dismissed. In the end he was sentenced to serve eight months in jail, ordered to pay $12,000 in fines and will serve one year of probation upon his release.
“That’s a pretty hefty sentence,” Hancock County district attorney Matt Foster told Bangor Daily News. “Most hunting convictions don’t have mandatory jail sentences.”
An investigation was initiated back in 2012 as the Maine Warden Service began receiving information regarding Fowler and suspicious activities. In September of 2012, the service decided to heavily investigate Fowler by acquainting an undercover warden with him.
The following month, the undercover officer and Fowler met up to head out on a deer hunt, according to an affidavit filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court. The affidavit went on to report that the two drove in a pickup truck where, a little after 9pm, Fowler proceeded to load a crossbow, lean out the window and shoot a doe.
This one incident alone resulted in charges including hunting more than 30 minutes after sunset, hunting on a Sunday, hunting or possessing an antlerless deer without a permit, hunting when the season is closed, shooting from a motor vehicle and hunting from a paved public way.
While I agree with Matt Foster’s comments above, this sentence is indeed a heavy one.
But should we surprised?
I fucking hate that I am surprised.
I would like to see more headlines that read like this one, containing words such as “poacher” and “jail”, and I think we just might in the near future. The state of Minnesota is working toward making poaching wildlife a felony and I imagine many will follow suit in due time.
H/T: Bangor Daily News
Image: Hancock County Jail