Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Illegal hunters caught with help of undercover robo-deer

Two poachers in Maryland who picked on the wrong deer had their hunting licences suspended and their equipment seized on Thursday by a district judge in St. Mary’s County.

David James Few, 21 of Taneytown, Maryland, and Brian Kelley Stitely, 24, of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, were caught by Maryland Natural Resources police on a stakeout on Oct. 23, as they spotlighted and shot the agency’s robotic decoy deer from a road in Leonardtown. Officers moved in and stopped their truck shortly after 10:30pm as Stitley was reloading his crossbow. Inside the vehicle, they found two crossbows, two flashlights, 4.2 grams of marijuana and a glass pipe.

"Robo-Deer" suffered minor injuries. In court, both men pleaded guilty to casting rays with an implement (spotlighting). The judge dismissed charges of having a loaded weapon in a vehicle, hunting from a vehicle and shooting from a roadway. Few’s civil citation for marijuana possession also was dismissed. Few received a 30-day suspended sentence, two years of unsupervised probation and had his hunting privileges suspended for two years.

Stitely was the subject of a joint 2013 investigation with Pennsylvania Game Commission officers that resulted in his arrest on deer poaching charges in both states. He also was convicted in Pennsylvania of spotlighting deer. The judge sentenced Stitely to a 30-day suspended sentence and three years of unsupervised probation. His hunting privileges, already suspended in Maryland through 2018 and in 44 other states as part of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, were further suspended until 2023.

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