When the suspects began to lie about where they were hunting and refused to
cooperate, Barger called for assistance from Cpl. Tod Johnson and his K-9
officer Carly, an enforcement dog specially trained for tracking and game
location. While waiting for the K-9 unit to arrive, Barger began an intensive
search of the surrounding area to gather evidence. During his search he found
two more illegally harvested deer - a five-point and another spike.
Once Cpl. Johnson and Carly arrived, they conducted another search to find all
the points where the animals had been shot and the stand locations of all three
suspects. During this search, they found a dead doe that had been hidden and
left to spoil, bringing the total for the morning to seven deer. The hunter’s
stand locations were also revealed, with one stand being placed on the WMA
Cpl. Johnson and Carly proved how valuable the K-9 unit is to wildlife law
enforcement, said Barger. The search for all this evidence could have taken days
instead of hours.
All seven deer were killed within plain view of one stand location, while the
other two hunters had no view of any of the deer from their stand sites. Nine
bullet casings were also found underneath this stand that matched one suspect’s
The suspect with the matching rifle was charged with four counts of being over
the limit, two counts of antler-restriction violations, one count of wasting
game, one count of hunting on lands without permission and three counts of
failure to tag game. The other two suspects were charged with aiding and
abetting a wildlife violation.
Had it not been for all of the shooting, the suspect may have gone unnoticed by
the hunter on the private lease, said Barger. After hearing nine shots go off
within a couple of hours, the hunter had to go see what all the commotion was
Upon returning to the scene for additional evidence the next day, Barger
discovered yet another deer in the same area, this one a six-point buck. The
suspect will face charges for this deer as well, bringing his possible fines to
more than $6,000 when he goes to court in mid-December.