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IDNR Busts Five Alleged Deer Poachers on 41 Wildlife Violations

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November 10, 2011

IDNR Busts Five Alleged Deer Poachers on 41 Wildlife Violations

By Scott Bestul

For the second time in the last two weeks, Illinois conservation wardens have announced a huge bust involving a high-profile whitetail kill. This Monday, Prairie State wardens announced the arrest of five hunters charged with illegally taking deer in Cook and Sangamon counties last fall.

Among the deer seized was a 213-5/8” nontypical that was featured in an episode of “Whitetail Properties TV” last summer and touted as a state record for a nontypical shot with traditional archery tackle.

Louis Bergsma from Illinois, Jonathan Douglas and Daniel Bergsma from Michigan were all arrested, along with fellow Wolverine State hunter Tom Hedke. The group racked up 41 violations of the wildlife code, including illegal trespass, hunting on an invalid permit, unlawful possession, hunting without a valid license and falsifying harvest records. The five-month long investigation was a cooperative effort between wardens from Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, as well as officers from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The investigation involved the illegal harvest of 31 whitetails, including the giant nontypical, a trophy-class animal that alone carries a fine of $25,000. The man charged with poaching that buck, “Cal” Bergsma, was listed as a “land specialist” for Whitetail Properties at the time of the incident, but is no longer mentioned on the site. In addition, the “Bergsma Brothers Archery” site seems to have been pulled from the Web.

Comments (15)

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from vasportsman wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Anyone else seeing a common theme here?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Trophyitus--Caused by excessive exposure to Bubba Big Buck hunting shows!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Do away with Boone and Crockett and all of the other " pat yourself on the back" scoring and you will get rid of this kind of behavior. As long as there is a drive to kill the highest scoring buck you will have scum like this. The TV shows on the Outdoor Channel only fuel the fire for behavior like this. We have lost the true sport of hunting along the way of the scoring systems. It is a sad day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Conner Hedderick wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Doing away with Boone and Crockett will not stop people from illegally harvesting world class animals. The desire to shoot monster deer is in everyone's blood. It presents a greater challenge, so the desire will always be there. Such a horrible way for such a giant deer to die. I don't understand why people can't just abide by the laws. We have problems with trespassers on our own private land. Its a shame. We intentionally keep off our property for a month of 2 before season to create somewhat of a sanctuary and then to learn it was all ruined by trespassers is just a shame. Good luck to all hunters out there this weekend!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from larson014 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

never got in to the whole "trophy" thing, thats created by the shows i think, im happy with my doe kills, they taste great to me, and still fill up the freezer...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

i dont get it....i know of a 200 inch buck that lives about 20 minutes from my house in between a college campus and a city park, but im not sitting here trying to figure out how to kill it.

just do it the right way guys, an animal is not worth all that money/jail time.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

We shouldn't do away with the B&C, its fair chase its for the guys who worked hard and did the right way. What should do is stop giving every idiot who has a gun and camo his own hunting show thats the problem if you ask me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Many kudo's to the wildlife officers involved. They are the real story. As for the self-promoting people involved, may their judge truly understand the seriousness of the offences and act accordingly. I would like justice, not just "the law", and would hope that the judge throws the book at them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Me too Tom Tom. Through the book at them and not allow them to have a legal permit anywhere. This sort of thing needs to be taken more seriously.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

What used to discourage me was we would put in countless hours working a case and arresting cruds like this and the courts would slap their hand and let them go. Nine times out of ten they would be right back doing the same thing the next day. The sad thing was if it is alright for Dad to do it is alright for me to do. It feels like you are butting your head against a brick wall. I got so tired of the lame excuses that these idiots used for tresspassing and killing illegal animals it made me sick. After awhile you have to be careful not to get a negative attitude against all hunters. I found out that a large percentage of hunters that stand around and brag about being a saint and talking a good game don't live by the same ethics. It is a larger percentage than most people want to admit too. As soon as they get out of sight of someone their ethics goes out the window. After over 35 years and devoting my life to trying to protect our natural resources and change attitudes toward these same natural resources I have come to the conclusion that we are going to have to clean up our act or we are going to go down the drain. Looking the other way is just as bad as doing the act. I still contend that trying to kill that 200" Boone and Crockett buck fuels the fire. When I stand around and listen to hunters talk that is all that you hear is what inch buck did you see or what inch buck did you shoot. People are obsessed with what a deer rack scores. I saw a 140 buck at my hunting camp today. If he eats enough acorns maybe he will weigh 145.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Basheer Benhalim wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

I don't think we can blame hunting shows for folks behavior, I think a lot of folks are spot on when they talk about the collective obsession with Scoring, I like shooting mature deer, whether it be a doe or a buck. It presents a greater challenge which I enjoy. That being said, maybe all of us need to take a few more kids hunting and show them the importance of being an ethical hunter, just my thoughts...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lexer Wolf wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Common theme is MICHIGAN. Man, not only do we hold the record for most idiots out on opening day, now they're starting to cross the State line to be idiots too.........PURE MICHIGAN. Your trip begins at Michigan.org/idiot_poachers/gun_hunters/html

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from treehugger wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

this ia reall ashame for the real hunters and sportsman, but this isnt the first for whitetail properties allen blevins for whitetail properties, same issues, everybody wants to be a celebrity LOL. in our county of van buren Iowa they have ruined the huntin over 100 outfitters and most of them arent hunters only thieves out to make a fast buck, our laws need to be more severe for tresspassers and poachers not just a slap on the hand, help save our wildlife hunting heritage iam very concerned where this is going

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wildartstech wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Yeah, I always hear people say they only shoot big bucks. As much as I like participating, I don't let the idea go to my head. Shooting the big buck isn't necessarily making the deer heard any healthier. Advertising and marketing of hunting products will never let it quit just cause of the fact that the idea of a trophy buck fuels sales. People who buy into it are a product of strategic marketing, not much different than weight loss, television advertisement or anything else that's trendy or fashionable. Although I'm sure I just offended half of the readers and I mean it when I say, to each their own. By the way, young meat usually tastes better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wildartstech wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Also I have a huge 10 pointer hanging on the wall... it could easily be a B&C but... I never got it scored, I might this year (like 16 years later..) but just never thought it mattered enough to do so. When I say that, people get mad and start acting like I'm telling a tall tale. if you don't believe, contact me, I'll send you a photo. It's huge. But that's not what get's me up at 4am and into the middle of the woods before sunrise. I also saw a replica of the world record at Gander Mountain.. wasn't impressed it's horns were skinny compared to mine. The dude got mad and said he had 13 B&Cs, what do I know. So I guess he's an expert on all things big right? You want the biggest trophy rack use displacement. My trophy has thick horns (manly girth) more than the world record did anyways, even though it would score much lower. If size matters, do it right and don't act like a knob cause you want to feel like a man for shooting the biggest deer. Killing a deer with a gun is easy. There should be a bracket in B&C for killing one with a knife, I'd hang a picture of that on the wall.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Trophyitus--Caused by excessive exposure to Bubba Big Buck hunting shows!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Do away with Boone and Crockett and all of the other " pat yourself on the back" scoring and you will get rid of this kind of behavior. As long as there is a drive to kill the highest scoring buck you will have scum like this. The TV shows on the Outdoor Channel only fuel the fire for behavior like this. We have lost the true sport of hunting along the way of the scoring systems. It is a sad day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

i dont get it....i know of a 200 inch buck that lives about 20 minutes from my house in between a college campus and a city park, but im not sitting here trying to figure out how to kill it.

just do it the right way guys, an animal is not worth all that money/jail time.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Many kudo's to the wildlife officers involved. They are the real story. As for the self-promoting people involved, may their judge truly understand the seriousness of the offences and act accordingly. I would like justice, not just "the law", and would hope that the judge throws the book at them.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

We shouldn't do away with the B&C, its fair chase its for the guys who worked hard and did the right way. What should do is stop giving every idiot who has a gun and camo his own hunting show thats the problem if you ask me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Me too Tom Tom. Through the book at them and not allow them to have a legal permit anywhere. This sort of thing needs to be taken more seriously.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

What used to discourage me was we would put in countless hours working a case and arresting cruds like this and the courts would slap their hand and let them go. Nine times out of ten they would be right back doing the same thing the next day. The sad thing was if it is alright for Dad to do it is alright for me to do. It feels like you are butting your head against a brick wall. I got so tired of the lame excuses that these idiots used for tresspassing and killing illegal animals it made me sick. After awhile you have to be careful not to get a negative attitude against all hunters. I found out that a large percentage of hunters that stand around and brag about being a saint and talking a good game don't live by the same ethics. It is a larger percentage than most people want to admit too. As soon as they get out of sight of someone their ethics goes out the window. After over 35 years and devoting my life to trying to protect our natural resources and change attitudes toward these same natural resources I have come to the conclusion that we are going to have to clean up our act or we are going to go down the drain. Looking the other way is just as bad as doing the act. I still contend that trying to kill that 200" Boone and Crockett buck fuels the fire. When I stand around and listen to hunters talk that is all that you hear is what inch buck did you see or what inch buck did you shoot. People are obsessed with what a deer rack scores. I saw a 140 buck at my hunting camp today. If he eats enough acorns maybe he will weigh 145.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lexer Wolf wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Common theme is MICHIGAN. Man, not only do we hold the record for most idiots out on opening day, now they're starting to cross the State line to be idiots too.........PURE MICHIGAN. Your trip begins at Michigan.org/idiot_poachers/gun_hunters/html

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vasportsman wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Anyone else seeing a common theme here?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Conner Hedderick wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Doing away with Boone and Crockett will not stop people from illegally harvesting world class animals. The desire to shoot monster deer is in everyone's blood. It presents a greater challenge, so the desire will always be there. Such a horrible way for such a giant deer to die. I don't understand why people can't just abide by the laws. We have problems with trespassers on our own private land. Its a shame. We intentionally keep off our property for a month of 2 before season to create somewhat of a sanctuary and then to learn it was all ruined by trespassers is just a shame. Good luck to all hunters out there this weekend!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from larson014 wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

never got in to the whole "trophy" thing, thats created by the shows i think, im happy with my doe kills, they taste great to me, and still fill up the freezer...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Basheer Benhalim wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

I don't think we can blame hunting shows for folks behavior, I think a lot of folks are spot on when they talk about the collective obsession with Scoring, I like shooting mature deer, whether it be a doe or a buck. It presents a greater challenge which I enjoy. That being said, maybe all of us need to take a few more kids hunting and show them the importance of being an ethical hunter, just my thoughts...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from treehugger wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

this ia reall ashame for the real hunters and sportsman, but this isnt the first for whitetail properties allen blevins for whitetail properties, same issues, everybody wants to be a celebrity LOL. in our county of van buren Iowa they have ruined the huntin over 100 outfitters and most of them arent hunters only thieves out to make a fast buck, our laws need to be more severe for tresspassers and poachers not just a slap on the hand, help save our wildlife hunting heritage iam very concerned where this is going

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wildartstech wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Yeah, I always hear people say they only shoot big bucks. As much as I like participating, I don't let the idea go to my head. Shooting the big buck isn't necessarily making the deer heard any healthier. Advertising and marketing of hunting products will never let it quit just cause of the fact that the idea of a trophy buck fuels sales. People who buy into it are a product of strategic marketing, not much different than weight loss, television advertisement or anything else that's trendy or fashionable. Although I'm sure I just offended half of the readers and I mean it when I say, to each their own. By the way, young meat usually tastes better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wildartstech wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Also I have a huge 10 pointer hanging on the wall... it could easily be a B&C but... I never got it scored, I might this year (like 16 years later..) but just never thought it mattered enough to do so. When I say that, people get mad and start acting like I'm telling a tall tale. if you don't believe, contact me, I'll send you a photo. It's huge. But that's not what get's me up at 4am and into the middle of the woods before sunrise. I also saw a replica of the world record at Gander Mountain.. wasn't impressed it's horns were skinny compared to mine. The dude got mad and said he had 13 B&Cs, what do I know. So I guess he's an expert on all things big right? You want the biggest trophy rack use displacement. My trophy has thick horns (manly girth) more than the world record did anyways, even though it would score much lower. If size matters, do it right and don't act like a knob cause you want to feel like a man for shooting the biggest deer. Killing a deer with a gun is easy. There should be a bracket in B&C for killing one with a knife, I'd hang a picture of that on the wall.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment