218-Inch Buck Costs Ohio Poacher $24K

by Dave Hurteau

According to an Ohio DNR press release, one James C. Alspaugh, 39, of West Mansfield, who killed the giant buck, pictured here, in December, has pled guilty to three charges including hunting by the aid of a motor vehicle, shooting from a roadway, and hunting without permission. The judge ordered Alspaugh to pay $550 in fines and fees and forfeit his hunting privileges for two years. In addition, the DNR imposed restitution for the deer in the amount of $23,816.95. This record-setting figure is derived from a fairly new state law, the likes of which is gaining popularity around the country, in which recovery value is determined based on B&C score, using this formula: RV = [(gross score - 100)2 x $1.65] The release does not indicate what Alspaugh's poached trophy grosses, but it nets 218 7/8.

Now a question for you: What do you think of Ohio's restitution law? It can be argued, on one hand, that all deer should be equally valued, and that this system validates a trivial obsession with big antlers. On the other hand, trophy bucks are demonstrably more valuable to most hunters, from whom poached bucks are taken. What's more, a growing market for big black-market bone (ironically fed by our own antler mania) must be addressed, and this hits high-end poacher where it hurts.

Where do you stand?