Two men face 51 charges each in a Wisconsin deer poaching case. The Waupaca County News reports the pair appeared in court this week, Eric Feavel from jail by Zoom and Vander Heiden called in by phone.
Both face one charge of hunting without a deer hunting license. They both also face 25 counts each for illegal shining of deer. The remaining charges vary by person. Feavel is charged with 25 counts of bail jumping. Heiden’s other 25 charges are for hunting after having his license revoked. Feavel is already in jail for an unrelated case, but the poaching charges stem from questionable activities that occurred in November 2022 when he was out on bond and wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation wardens responded to reports of a vehicle shining deer during an overnight patrol. The reports came from an area where a decapitated buck was found. Warden Jeff Nieling tailed a slow-moving vehicle that had a flashlight shining out the driver’s side window and angled toward deer then he conducted a traffic stop. “Warden Nieling shined his flashlight in the back seat and saw a cocked crossbow on the seat and bolts on the floor,” according to the complaint on file. “[Warden Zachary] Seitz arrived at the scene and he and Nieling found a blood-stained tarp in the vehicle.”
Wardens later found more than 30 photos of a dead buck on Feavel’s phone. Heiden and Feavel admitted to shining and shooting deer since 2019. In 2022, Heiden claims they shot at about 30 deer but only collected five of them. This week’s court proceedings were rescheduled for later this month and early May because Feavel requested a public defender and Heiden declared he hadn’t seen the complaint yet due to a recent move to Texas.
Spotlighting animals while hunting deer is prohibited under Wisconsin State Legislature 29.314. Legal shooting hours also end 20 minutes after sunset. The complaint states the two men were stopped around midnight.