It’s a total bummer that everything in life costs money. Just keeping your home warm or cool makes up 54% of your annual utility bills. One thing that’s more expensive than most anything you can think of is breaking the law. One hunter figured this out the hard way and will be paying for it for a while. But, with a twist.
Did we say hunter? We meant poacher. This past hunting season, authorities in Missouri caught wind of a substantial poaching operation. Big enough to be among the largest poaching operations in the state’s history.
David Berry Jr., three relatives, and a buddy of theirs illegally killed hundreds of deer and left the bodies to decay. To answer for their crimes, they’ve paid over $51,000 in fines, $151,000 in bonds, and have served a collective 33 days in prison. David Berry Jr., however, earned himself a year in prison for an additional firearm related violation. There was a stipulation with his sentence that isn’t typical of the criminal justice system. While he’s in jail, he has to watch the Disney film Bambi at least once per month.
If you’re unfamiliar with the film, Bambi is a fawn whose mother gets killed by a hunter. If you like to hunt legally, that’s fine. You’re among nearly 40% of the population that participates in legal wildlife activities like hunting and fishing. But there are plenty of laws that regulate hunting, all of which were ignored by Berry and company.
“In situations like this, with serial poachers who have no regard for the animals, rules of fair chase, or aren’t bothered by the fact that they’re stealing from others, it’s all about greed and ego. Taking just the heads is their version of obtaining a ‘trophy’ and leaving the carcass behind is merely an afterthought. While there are some cases where poachers go after the antlers for profit, with this bunch it was more about the thrill of the kill itself,” said Randy Doman of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Human beings are great aren’t we? Hopefully, this lesson will resonate with the Berry family. Maybe a year in jail with forced screenings of Bambi will finally drive the point home.