Monday, January 21, 2008

Poachers from South Carolina caught in Iowa

Two South Carolina men were arrested for deer poaching on November 10, 2007 at a Des Moines area hotel by Iowa DNR officials. Michael Sillanpaa Jr., of Summerville, S.C., and David Gordon, of Goose Creek, S.C. found themselves the focus of conservation officers. Tips came from a concerned citizen which led to the search of a local residence and a vehicle. Results of the search led to the seizure of deer, two shotguns, two crossbows, a rifle and other equipment, according to the DNR. The men came to Iowa last October...purchasing small game licenses and paying the habitat fee so they would have a legitimate reason to be in the woods hunting. Little did they realize they had become the focus of surveillance by the DNR. These guys were observed purchasing a $1,060 crossbow by officers at a local sporting goods store. Conservation Officer Jeff Swearngin reported later that they had been followed through two state parks where they would kill deer by shooting the crossbow from their vehicle, coming back at night to get the animal's head. Crossbows are not a legal form of weaponry to hunt unless you are disabled here in the state of Iowa. The Iowa DNR said the men shot two bucks, and South Carolina game wardens found three shoulder mounts and two other separate set of deer antlers also taken in Iowa. This wasn't the first time Sillanpaa has been involved with poaching officials from South Carolina revealed. Without this breakthrough these guys would never have been caught. What was strange was that they have been deer poaching in Iowa for the last 10 years. What kind of penalty was imposed you ask? State environmental officials required Michael Sillanpaa Jr., and David Gordon to pay $24,000 in damages, give up $5,000 worth of hunting equipment, and pay a fine of $2,137 which reflected the value of the recovered deer antlers. In looking over the facts - a question comes to mind. What has made the collection of deer antler so valuable that they would risk going above the law to procure them? They don't seem to be alone...

"What would you do?"

Bryan,over at deerPhD has started a weekly article giving scenarios for the hunter to decide what decisions they might make while in the timber or field. If you haven't had a chance to stop in yet, I highly recommend taking a look around deerPhD to see what this author is bringing to his readers. Now, I would like to ask what you would do with the facts I am about to present. This is how I've assumed events unfolded when I went to look later in the day. Heading back to the second day of muzzleloader season I heard three shots , two of them not far from our house. It appeared that the muzzleloaders may have injured a deer that took off running. I found one tiny blood drop at the corner of the fence where they crossed onto my property.... There were tracks of two ATVs, to me it looks as though they were chasing deer, because of where they went in correlation to deer tracks.

Bringing hunter activity from the neighbor's cornfield down into the tree line between our cornfields. Having pictorial documentation of the results of the two shots close to our homestead, I could correlate position of hunter to hunted.
Picture 1
What I would like to know-
1. As a hunter, how far would you go in a chase by foot to get your injured deer in the snow and cold? Would you pursue with an ATV? 2. As a landowner, what would you do if you weren't certain if those who didn't have permission to hunt your property, but had the right to retrieve a kill without firearms, was hunting illegally? First shot wasn't lethal. Here at,"Law & Politics" section you can find some interesting facts about what is considered trespassing in 40 of our 50 states. The information is worth checking out to see where you stand as a hunter and or a landowner...