Poaching is a crime against wildlife as well as against all citizens – hunters and non-hunters alike. When most people think of poaching they might picture violence against animals in other countries, like Africa, but it can happen close to home.
Several weeks back, well before the opening of Indiana’s deer hunting season, Indiana conservation officers filed criminal charges against a Muncie man for illegally taking deer in Delaware County.
On September 4 Delaware County sheriff deputies responded to shots fired. These deputies quickly relayed information they gathered to conservation officers of possible poaching and damages to private property. This sparked a two week long investigation.
The officers taking the lead began looking into several possibilities and even used social media in asking the public for help. An anonymous person soon made contact through the IDNR’s District Four Facebook page which led to a break in the case.
Conservation officers obtained a search warrant for the home of William McKinney, age 41 of Muncie. With the keen nose of their K-9 Marley, evidence of poaching crimes were located and seized as evidence. McKinney finally confessed to taking several deer illegally. He also admitted to damaging private property when he drove through agricultural fields, destroying crops in his attempt to retrieve the deer.
McKinney will be charged with illegal taking of deer, illegal possession of whitetail deer, criminal mischief, hindering a conservation officer, obstruction of justice, failure to provide proof of automobile insurance, false and fictitious automobile insurance and game breeder permit violations.
The Delaware County resident also had to forfeit his vehicle, firearm and all processed meat and antlers to the DNR, which will be used as evidence.
Indiana Conservation officers as well as ethical hunters would like to remind the public that regular deer hunting seasons begin with the archery segment which opens its doors on October 1. If you would observe any activities you think could be linked to poaching or other crimes against our valuable natural resources you are encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-IDNR. You can remain anonymous and may even be eligible for a monetary reward.
Our fish and wildlife resources are public and belong to all Indiana residents. “We appreciate the public in their help in reporting suspicious activities when they pertain to our natural resources,” says Howard County conservation officer Brad Robins, who helped in the investigation.