April 23, 2013
Illinois Hunter Pleads Guilty to Poaching State Record Whitetail—And More
By Scott Bestul
Remember Illinois hunter Chris Kiernan? Back in November of 2009, he killed an Illinois state-record nontypical whitetail, a 36-point buck giant that netted scored 267-3/8 inches. This week, Kiernan pleaded guilty in Grundy County (IL) Circuit Court to illegally taking not just that buck but two others as well, according to this story in the LaSalle News Tribune.
Kiernan admitted to illegally killing a 16-point and an 11-point whitetail. He also confessed to hunting without permission in the three cases. Kiernan was fined $10,000 restitution for the 36-point buck, and $840 in additional fines. The trophy bucks, as well as Kiernan’s hunting equipment, were seized by the DNR. Kiernan will not be able to hunt in Illinois for two years, and he may receive additional suspension of his hunting privileges.
I always feel a range of emotion whenever cases like this go public. And though I get just as mad and disgusted as ever, reporting on these big busts over the years has allowed a different sentiment to emerge; curiosity. Today’s wardens—and I count Illinois’ force as one of the best—are simply better at their jobs than ever, and people seem more concerned and willing to report wildlife violations. So I always wonder how guys like Kiernan think they can get away with their crimes. I assume that fame and greed are temptations for guys like him, but for Kiernan to think that shooting and then purposely publicizing a whitetail this monstrous is not going to put him under a microscope is just madness. So is Kiernan is just plain dumb or is the challenge of getting away with something just as heady for him as the crime itself. Thoughts?