North Carolina men often shot bucks on Antlerless Only tags; crossed state lines
WICHITA -- Eight hunters from North Carolina will pay more than $36,000 in fines and fees after pleading guilty to illegally shooting trophy deer in Kansas and taking them across state lines. The poachers were caught shooting 11 bucks out of season -- one mule deer and 10 white-tailed deer -- in the Stafford County area and were arrested in November of 2004. The majority of the men only purchased Whitetail Antlerless Only Deer game tags and illegally tagged the bucks with these tags. They kept only the heads of the deer, leaving the meat to rot.

Tips from the public are credited for the arrests, but the case was the resolved through a 15-month investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The hunters entered guilty pleas and were sentenced on Jan. 25 in Wichita by U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald W. Bostwick. The eight men each pleaded guilty to one count of transporting illegally-taken wildlife across state lines.

Along with monetary penalties, the defendants will serve three years probation. During this time, they will not be permitted to hunt anywhere in the United States. In addition, they had to forfeit all the game and five firearms used in the crimes.