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A Big Mistake! Two Bucks in One Day
January 10, 2019

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COLUMBUS, OH Seeing more than one shooter buck in a day is pretty exciting for any hunter. If one of those is an awesome, aging 26-pointer, the excitement would rouse anyone. And a buck like that could offer a hunt-of-a-lifetime experience.

Now if the 26-pointer appeared after the hunter had harvested a decent 8-point buck earlier in the day, well that would make any hunter sick to their stomach.

Unless, the hunter makes a really bad decision to claim a second buck that day. Big mistake! We're now talking about a poacher.

That temptation got the best of one Holmes County, Ohio hunter last fall.

The buck-of-a-lifetime experience turned ugly for Junior L. Troyer, after he was caught taking a 228 7/8" non-typical deer with a long bow in Coshocton County. That came after Troyer had harvested and tagged the 8-point buck the same morning.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Communications Specialist Jamey Emmert said Troyer then had to devise a plan to cover-up his actions. It didn't help the poacher that word had spread quickly that the monster buck had been shot. Apparently many people in that community were aware of the big buck and some went to social media immediately about the deer being poached.

"He (Troyer) had shot the eight-point, the first buck early in the morning, on his property. He went back out in the afternoon," said Emmert. After killing the big buck, "Troyer transferred the tag from the already permanently checked in 8-point to the freshly killed 26-point. Later, he checked a phantom doe and used that confirmation number and attached it to the meat of the 8-point, initially suggesting to officers that checking the 8-point as a buck was a mistake when he meant to check a doe."

The statewide bag limit remains at six deer, but only one deer may be antlered.

So, the story wasn't lining up for DNR officers who had interviewed Troyer. The decision was made to bring in the DNR's K-9 team of Finn and state wildlife officer Jeremy Carter (Holmes County). Emmert said it didn't take long for Finn to find the evidence they needed to trip Troyer's story. The carcass of the 8-point buck was found "pretty quickly" along a fence line on Troyer's property.

Emmert said the DNR's poacher hotline was not used in this case, but concerned citizens did report their suspicions about the large buck to a wildlife officer.

In Coshocton Municipal Court on December 13, Troyer, age 43, pleaded no-contest to five wildlife violations: including providing false information while game checking deer, attaching a game check number to a deer other than the deer it was issued to, taking more than one antlered deer in a license year, possessing deer or deer parts without an attached valid deer tag, and attaching an antlerless deer game check number to an antlered deer. Judge Timothy L. France found Troyer guilty on all charges and ordered him to pay $150 for each charge and an additional $87 in court costs.

Judge France also ordered Troyer to pay restitution to the ODNR Division of Wildlife in the amount of $27,904.46. The large amount was determined from a formula the DNR uses that's based on the antler size (228 7/8 score). The nearly $28K amount of restitution could be the largest imposed for a single deer in Ohio, but Emmert said the ODNR does not track that information.

Troyer saw no jail time for his actions, after the judge had ordered 60 days imposed. His hunting license privileges were suspended for one year, and he will be entered into the Wildlife Violator's Compact and most likely will lose hunting rights in 46 other states.

Emmert said the judge offered to suspend Troyer's jail time if the $27K restitution was paid that day. It was and Troyer eluded the impound. Judge France also ordered a two-year hunting suspension, but reduced that to one-year if all court costs were paid that day.

The trophy buck was seized by the DNR from a taxidermist in Tuscarawas County and will likely be displayed at the Division of Wildlife's central office in Columbus, according to Emmert.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife has five K-9 teams throughout the state that are trained and certified to detect wildlife, gunpowder, and ginseng, and are certified in tracking, area searches, and article searches.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife encourages anyone observing or suspecting that wildlife violations are occurring to report illegal activity by calling the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline toll free at 1-800-POACHER (762-2437) or submitting information online at wildohio.gov. All information received by the TIP program will remain confidential.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

Note: Some of the information in this article came from a January 4, 2019 ODNR press release.

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