October 07, 2010
Big Buck Illegally Harvested by Tennessee Man Returned to Illinois
By David Maccar
A mounted 24-point whitetail that was illegally shot by a hunter last fall has been returned to the state where it belonged. Officials were able to prove the violation through emails, texts and cell phone pictures. Just more proof that anything you put out in cyberspace could come back to bite you.
From this story on Chattanoogan.com:
Following a lengthy and complicated investigation, a Sequatchie County man has been charged and a massive buck he killed in Illinois has been returned to that state.
It all began last Fall. Tennessee Wildlife Officer Shawn Edgmon had received several photos by text and e-mail of a huge, 24 point whitetail buck that a Sequatchie County hunter had taken in Illinois. Edgmon didn't think much of it at the time... until he got a call about someone hunting land without permission in Sequatchie County.
Following up on the tip Edgmon located Steve Harmon of Dunlap. Edgmon said he was hunting property without permission, not wearing required blaze orange and hunting without a license Edgmon said, "I thought it was really strange that he wouldn't have a Tennessee hunting license because I knew this was the guy who had killed the huge buck in Illinois. You would think someone who went to the time, effort and expense to hunt out-of-state would have a license in their own state."
The following Monday Edgmon called wildlife officials in Springfield, Illinois and they began their own investigation. They discovered that Harmon had purchased an Illinois "Doe Tag" (app. $100) on Nov. 8, 2009 and had hunted all week. They said their records indicated that Harmon then purchased an Illinois "Buck Tag" (app. $400) on Nov. 12 around 1:30 pm.
Officer Edgmon followed up with more investigation in Sequatchie County on the pictures which had been e-mailed and texted to numerous people throughout the county and discovered the photograph of the huge buck had been taken about 8:30 am on Nov. 12... about five hours before Harmon had purchased the appropriate license. Officers Edgmon and Russell Vandergriff went and interviewed Harmon.
Edgmon said, "When we talked to him he initially denied killing the deer on the morning of Nov. 12, but the cell phone picture did not lie."
Edgmon turned all of his evidence over to Illinois Conservation Officer Charlie Diggers who then went to his District Attorney. Harmon was charged with taking the deer illegally without a permit, a class B misdemeanor in Illinois.
In Illinois Harmon was ultimately fined $750, got 9 points on his Illinois record (it takes 13 points to lose license), and most importantly, he had to forfeit the huge buck.
In a ceremony held just this week, the huge mounted buck was presented to the Pyramid Park in Illinois... a public park where Harmon killed the huge buck.
The 24-point deer unofficially measured 203 inches. It was killed on the "Captain Unit" of Pyramid Park in Illinois. The extraordinary mount has been returned to the people of Illinois and is on display to the public during normal business hours at the Pyramid Park office. Jarrod Albers, a taxidermist from Tamaroa, donated the time and materials for the mount.
Officials said the case represents a most unusual chain of events, and highlights the extraordinary investigative skills of wildlife officers in Tennessee and Illinois.
The moral of the story for illegal hunters.... be sure to reset the Date/Time Stamps on your digital cameras when you take pictures of your illegal kills.
Or better yet, just stay legal.