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Ohio Poacher Notches Record Fine for Taking Trophy Buck

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June 03, 2011

Ohio Poacher Notches Record Fine for Taking Trophy Buck

By Scott Bestul

We’ve covered Ohio’s restitution system—which fines a poacher according to the B&C score of an illegal buck’s rack—in this space before. But a Buckeye State poacher recently received the highest penalty ever levied in the state. Arlie Risner, a 58-year old resident of Bellevue, Ohio, was fined $27,851 for killing a monster non-typical that scored 228-6/8” in November, 2010.

According to a story filed by D’Arcy Egan, outdoor writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Risner was ticketed by Ohio Division of Wildlife wardens for hunting without permission on CSX railroad property. Acting on a tip, officer Josh Zientek and investigator Jeff Collingwood visited the kill site and found evidence that Risner killed the whitetail on CSX land. Homeland Security rules prohibit any form of trespass on railroad lands and are strictly enforced by railroad security and wildlife officers.

Risner had originally intended to fight the ticket—which came with a $200 fine and a one-year suspension of his state hunting privileges—but claims he couldn’t afford the attorney fees. Risner says he was hunting on a relative’s land adjacent to the railroad property when he shot the buck, but it crossed the line fence before dying. Risner’s friend, who helped him recover and drag the buck, was also cited for hunting without permission. The restitution bill arrived in Risner’s mail in April. If he can’t pay the hefty fine, the attorney general may be called upon to collect the money.

 

Comments (28)

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Hate to see what kind of fine a kid would pay for putting a penny on a CSX railroad track nowdays with the Department of Homeland Security keeping us safe...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Wow,As a kid some of our best pheasant hunting was walking the tracks for miles.This is a good one for the just what is poaching post. I am assumeing he was shot with a gun. If they proved he shot it on RR property I guess he should have waited for him to cross the fence to the property he had permission on. I would sure like to see someone who shoots a buck on my side of the fence get this penalty, but you have to catch them and prove it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ga hunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

In a way i wish all states would raise the fines that high for illegally taking a deer or poaching if i was a poacher i think i might quit and try to find my own land to hunt on if i knew i was getting that type of ticket

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

We used to rabbit hunt along the tracks when I was growing up. We had other places to hunt but the brush along the tracks provided good cover. No one minded including the Rail road. My how times change.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hoski wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Seems a tad excessive to me. It's not like the guy was caught jacklighting or taking the deer out of season.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Rediculous if you ask me.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from cmhlop72 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

shouldve done the right thing. once it goes over the railroad ROW leave it, call the game warden and show him what happened.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Strange, no mention of being fined for trespassing on CSX land - which is presumably the reason Homeland Security patrols that area.

They say he killed it ON CSX property. He claims it traveled and died on CSX property....I say they had better have solid proof that he did actually kill it on CSX land. Otherwise, it's a [ahem] railroad job. To me, it's simply trespassing. Same goes for his dragging buddy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

The article does not mention the deer was shot with a bow, properly tagged and properly checked into a game checking station. Appears the hunter admits to crossing the fence to retrieve the animal. I say he is guilty of trespassing, however I feel the poaching charge is weak.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Yes, I say this is a poor use of the law and the antler based fines. It would have to be a pretty incredible distance from the mans property to claim it was poached on the rail road property. Trespassing at best. I bet it sucks being the guy they try to make an example of and to possibly be innocent.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i don't see where they proved poaching in any way. he would have won if he had fought it.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Ya I agree, he would have won if he'd fought it... Makes me wonder why he didn't. Maybe we don't know all the details. He could have been poaching. But from what info we have here it's a poor case and a lousy use of that law in my opinion. Should have called the warden when it crossed the fence.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim Berardi wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Like many other things these terrible economic days it's all about the $$. DNR is looking out for itself & their budgets have been slashed too with our new Governor. Ohio has a not-so-good reputation when it comes to these situations-they always seem to be wanting to make an EXAMPLE out of some poor soul! I say we take up a collection for the guy at least gets a fair chance to clear himself & I don't even know him but DO know some good people who got the short end of the stick for minor wildlife infractions in Buckeyeland! Guilty till proven otherwise-what a shame.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from countryboyhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I caint believe them der peoples fined dat much fer huntin on utter peoples propertah.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Makes me wish I was a member of the Bar in Ohio just so I could review the evidence B/C this one is beatable. Had it been a little six point, nothing would have ever come from it. Either the culprit is commonly known as a notorious game law violator, or somebody is insanely jealous and "Fixed" the evidence, most of which is speculative at the best, I would imagine.
If the guy is indeed an outlaw, well, he deserves what he gets. If he is indeed telling the truth and shot the buck on property to which he was legal to hunt and the buck died on CSX property, the proper manner to retrieve the deer would have been to contact the local CSX office, explain the situation, and once obtaining permission to access the property (unarmed)retrieve the deer.
My gut feeling in this one is that I'm smelling a rat, but I don't know which way the stink is coming from.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeyebob wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I love it how I can tell my county wildlife officer about two poached bucks on my property and I told him who I thought did it. What does he tell me? "You have a dumping problem not a poaching problem." If you were going to dump a deer on someones property would you drag it a mile back in a plowed field and not bother to atleast take the loins out or gut it? O, the didnt forget the antlers though

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blevig54 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I agree that this is ridiculous. Can they disprove that the deer jumped back onto RR property. I mean, the guy might not be that good of shot but $27k! Poachers need to be punished and money is a deterrent but this seems excessive.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jblunt04 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Article is a little vague for me to label this guy as a poacher versus a trespasser.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Whackdaddy wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

This is a good example of how too much governing of any kind is a bad thing. Seriously, $27K for trespassing? Murderers, rapists and crank dealers get off for less every day. Whitetail deer are a huge part of my life, but there comes a time when you have to say "It's just a damn deer."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hockey86 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

The game wardens have heard it a million times how the deer was shot legally but just happened on the adjacent piece of land. Shoot the deer then call somebody and tell them what happened and get permission. Where I hunt you have the right and obligation to go after a wounded animal ONLY after obtaining PERMISSION. A lot of the landowners will not allow guys to after the animal unless they are with them so they can see if something doesn't pass the smell test. All said, at the end of the day he got what he deserved.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Puffy wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

@ hockey86:

Yes, they have heard it a million times, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a lie. A similar case happened in my local area; sheriff stops a car on complaint of dui, driver is slurring speech, cannot pass field sobriety test, gives medical condition as justification but this is ignored. He is arrested and booked anyway. No effort was made to verify medical status. Turns out he actually did have a medical reason – cerebral palsy. Department is now facing million dollar lawsuit. There is no excuse for abuse of power or lack of due diligence. I think it’s not beyond reasonable doubt that the deer did indeed cross over into railroad property. Without real proof to the contrary the fine is a grotesque miscarriage of justice.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Alexander wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

It is drilled into us to make sure where we are and where the deer are when we shoot. However, if I'm reading the article right, the guy has collected the deer and taken it to the check station. From there, a tip is provided and then the authorities go and confirm that the deer was on railroad property.

How long had passed between the check in to the tip to the investigation? Time has a drastic impact on blood trails. It's quite possible that the trail may have been too disturbed to follow thoroughly.

Unfortunately, I read the comments on the newspaper article and they are portraying this man as a soulless poacher despite having an exemplary record as a hunter. Despite the resolution, he's already been branded the criminal rather than the victim of a deer that wouldn't fall over.

I don't know enough to condemn this man so I'll refrain from judgment.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

The whole thing sounds fishy to me. No proof of deliberate poaching and that large a fine for trespassing is an outrage. Any action involving so-called "homeland security" is doubly suspicious. I would not trust anything that bunch of UN-Americans were involved in. IF ALL the facts are actually presented here, this sounds like a disgraceful miscarriage of "justice". They would have to work very hard to collect one penny from me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

I live in Ohio and have over the past 10 years or so called the game warden on several occasions when I witness a violation. One time I saw a car load of kids shooting at deer out the car window while still driving down the road. I got the license plate number and immediately called the warden. No call back. Found several poached deer just last year with bullet holes in them. Called the warden... no call back. While scouting for turkey a few years ago I found bait piles intended for opening day. Called the warden... no call back. When my friends attic was infested with an endangered bat we were told we needed permission from the game warden prior to having them removed. 24 messages over a 2 month period went unanswered. With each message I left an explanation for the reason for the call. Each violation was out of season so how busy can they be? So when I see an Ohio game warden posing with a confiscated trophy I just can't help but feel skeptical.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from eagleboy19 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

this seems way too forceful and excessive, the DNR seems like they want to try and get anything from you.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from joshfish1 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

crazy! I trim trees around powelines and if we come up on a railroad track we have to stop notify the railroad and the police. Little dumb if u ask me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MarkPaulick wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

My friend lives in Ohio & says he's been hassled many times over trivial things while fishing/hunting in Buckeyeland, all because they watch him like a hawk since he was involved in a hunting accident in another state well over 20 years ago-he thinks their on a "witchhunt" for him & I'd kind of agree! They even have air surveilance on him at times-what a waste of taxpayers money!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tbonzzz wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I guess he should have called homeland security before he retreived his deer totally uncalled for sounds like ohio is desperate for money I feel sorry for the old timer

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from Hoski wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Seems a tad excessive to me. It's not like the guy was caught jacklighting or taking the deer out of season.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

i don't see where they proved poaching in any way. he would have won if he had fought it.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from blevig54 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I agree that this is ridiculous. Can they disprove that the deer jumped back onto RR property. I mean, the guy might not be that good of shot but $27k! Poachers need to be punished and money is a deterrent but this seems excessive.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

I live in Ohio and have over the past 10 years or so called the game warden on several occasions when I witness a violation. One time I saw a car load of kids shooting at deer out the car window while still driving down the road. I got the license plate number and immediately called the warden. No call back. Found several poached deer just last year with bullet holes in them. Called the warden... no call back. While scouting for turkey a few years ago I found bait piles intended for opening day. Called the warden... no call back. When my friends attic was infested with an endangered bat we were told we needed permission from the game warden prior to having them removed. 24 messages over a 2 month period went unanswered. With each message I left an explanation for the reason for the call. Each violation was out of season so how busy can they be? So when I see an Ohio game warden posing with a confiscated trophy I just can't help but feel skeptical.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from eagleboy19 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

this seems way too forceful and excessive, the DNR seems like they want to try and get anything from you.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Rediculous if you ask me.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

The article does not mention the deer was shot with a bow, properly tagged and properly checked into a game checking station. Appears the hunter admits to crossing the fence to retrieve the animal. I say he is guilty of trespassing, however I feel the poaching charge is weak.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Yes, I say this is a poor use of the law and the antler based fines. It would have to be a pretty incredible distance from the mans property to claim it was poached on the rail road property. Trespassing at best. I bet it sucks being the guy they try to make an example of and to possibly be innocent.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim Berardi wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Like many other things these terrible economic days it's all about the $$. DNR is looking out for itself & their budgets have been slashed too with our new Governor. Ohio has a not-so-good reputation when it comes to these situations-they always seem to be wanting to make an EXAMPLE out of some poor soul! I say we take up a collection for the guy at least gets a fair chance to clear himself & I don't even know him but DO know some good people who got the short end of the stick for minor wildlife infractions in Buckeyeland! Guilty till proven otherwise-what a shame.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Makes me wish I was a member of the Bar in Ohio just so I could review the evidence B/C this one is beatable. Had it been a little six point, nothing would have ever come from it. Either the culprit is commonly known as a notorious game law violator, or somebody is insanely jealous and "Fixed" the evidence, most of which is speculative at the best, I would imagine.
If the guy is indeed an outlaw, well, he deserves what he gets. If he is indeed telling the truth and shot the buck on property to which he was legal to hunt and the buck died on CSX property, the proper manner to retrieve the deer would have been to contact the local CSX office, explain the situation, and once obtaining permission to access the property (unarmed)retrieve the deer.
My gut feeling in this one is that I'm smelling a rat, but I don't know which way the stink is coming from.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott Alexander wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

It is drilled into us to make sure where we are and where the deer are when we shoot. However, if I'm reading the article right, the guy has collected the deer and taken it to the check station. From there, a tip is provided and then the authorities go and confirm that the deer was on railroad property.

How long had passed between the check in to the tip to the investigation? Time has a drastic impact on blood trails. It's quite possible that the trail may have been too disturbed to follow thoroughly.

Unfortunately, I read the comments on the newspaper article and they are portraying this man as a soulless poacher despite having an exemplary record as a hunter. Despite the resolution, he's already been branded the criminal rather than the victim of a deer that wouldn't fall over.

I don't know enough to condemn this man so I'll refrain from judgment.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Hate to see what kind of fine a kid would pay for putting a penny on a CSX railroad track nowdays with the Department of Homeland Security keeping us safe...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Strange, no mention of being fined for trespassing on CSX land - which is presumably the reason Homeland Security patrols that area.

They say he killed it ON CSX property. He claims it traveled and died on CSX property....I say they had better have solid proof that he did actually kill it on CSX land. Otherwise, it's a [ahem] railroad job. To me, it's simply trespassing. Same goes for his dragging buddy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nuhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Ya I agree, he would have won if he'd fought it... Makes me wonder why he didn't. Maybe we don't know all the details. He could have been poaching. But from what info we have here it's a poor case and a lousy use of that law in my opinion. Should have called the warden when it crossed the fence.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jblunt04 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Article is a little vague for me to label this guy as a poacher versus a trespasser.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Whackdaddy wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

This is a good example of how too much governing of any kind is a bad thing. Seriously, $27K for trespassing? Murderers, rapists and crank dealers get off for less every day. Whitetail deer are a huge part of my life, but there comes a time when you have to say "It's just a damn deer."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Puffy wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

@ hockey86:

Yes, they have heard it a million times, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a lie. A similar case happened in my local area; sheriff stops a car on complaint of dui, driver is slurring speech, cannot pass field sobriety test, gives medical condition as justification but this is ignored. He is arrested and booked anyway. No effort was made to verify medical status. Turns out he actually did have a medical reason – cerebral palsy. Department is now facing million dollar lawsuit. There is no excuse for abuse of power or lack of due diligence. I think it’s not beyond reasonable doubt that the deer did indeed cross over into railroad property. Without real proof to the contrary the fine is a grotesque miscarriage of justice.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

The whole thing sounds fishy to me. No proof of deliberate poaching and that large a fine for trespassing is an outrage. Any action involving so-called "homeland security" is doubly suspicious. I would not trust anything that bunch of UN-Americans were involved in. IF ALL the facts are actually presented here, this sounds like a disgraceful miscarriage of "justice". They would have to work very hard to collect one penny from me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from joshfish1 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

crazy! I trim trees around powelines and if we come up on a railroad track we have to stop notify the railroad and the police. Little dumb if u ask me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MarkPaulick wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

My friend lives in Ohio & says he's been hassled many times over trivial things while fishing/hunting in Buckeyeland, all because they watch him like a hawk since he was involved in a hunting accident in another state well over 20 years ago-he thinks their on a "witchhunt" for him & I'd kind of agree! They even have air surveilance on him at times-what a waste of taxpayers money!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tbonzzz wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I guess he should have called homeland security before he retreived his deer totally uncalled for sounds like ohio is desperate for money I feel sorry for the old timer

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

Wow,As a kid some of our best pheasant hunting was walking the tracks for miles.This is a good one for the just what is poaching post. I am assumeing he was shot with a gun. If they proved he shot it on RR property I guess he should have waited for him to cross the fence to the property he had permission on. I would sure like to see someone who shoots a buck on my side of the fence get this penalty, but you have to catch them and prove it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ga hunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

In a way i wish all states would raise the fines that high for illegally taking a deer or poaching if i was a poacher i think i might quit and try to find my own land to hunt on if i knew i was getting that type of ticket

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

We used to rabbit hunt along the tracks when I was growing up. We had other places to hunt but the brush along the tracks provided good cover. No one minded including the Rail road. My how times change.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cmhlop72 wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

shouldve done the right thing. once it goes over the railroad ROW leave it, call the game warden and show him what happened.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckeyebob wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I love it how I can tell my county wildlife officer about two poached bucks on my property and I told him who I thought did it. What does he tell me? "You have a dumping problem not a poaching problem." If you were going to dump a deer on someones property would you drag it a mile back in a plowed field and not bother to atleast take the loins out or gut it? O, the didnt forget the antlers though

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hockey86 wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

The game wardens have heard it a million times how the deer was shot legally but just happened on the adjacent piece of land. Shoot the deer then call somebody and tell them what happened and get permission. Where I hunt you have the right and obligation to go after a wounded animal ONLY after obtaining PERMISSION. A lot of the landowners will not allow guys to after the animal unless they are with them so they can see if something doesn't pass the smell test. All said, at the end of the day he got what he deserved.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from countryboyhunter wrote 2 years 45 weeks ago

I caint believe them der peoples fined dat much fer huntin on utter peoples propertah.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report

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