A Deer-Poaching Low Point

There are game-law violators, and then there are despicable, scum-sucking, bottom-feeding poachers.

We think readers will agree Jacob Powers of Lowell, Mich. qualifies in the latter category.

Powers, 25, pleaded guilty during his Oct. 3 arraignment before a magistrate of the 64B District Court at Stanton in Montcalm County on the charge of taking two deer during a closed season. Authorities investigating a phone complaint to the state Report All Poaching (RAP) Line on Sept. 21 said Powers killed two trophy whitetail in Montcalm County during the 2014 Youth Hunt while acting as a mentor to an 8-year-old.

Yes, it was while he was accompanying a youngster on his first deer hunt!

In a subsequent search of Powers’ property, authorities seized two large antlered heads, meat and a shotgun used to take the animal. It was determined Powers killed both deer himself that morning in Bushnell Township of Montcalm County, while accompanying an 8-year-old youth. Officers testified that Powers illegally tagged one deer with the Mentored Youth Tag issued to the young hunter and procured a second Youth tag from a 6-year-old female family member prior to transporting the animals. Officers established Powers had recorded trail camera images of the deer prior to the hunt and knew the trophy animals were present in the hunt area.

That’s the bad part. Now, the good part.

In his sentencing, Powers received fines and punishment established under the Michigan’s newly passed law, which includes a progressive penalty and restitution system based on the trophy quality of deer taken illegally. It marked the first time the new law has come into play since becoming effective Feb. 1, 2014. And it couldn’t have been used more appropriately.

Under the new law:

  • For any deer with or without antlers, the base restitution will be $1,000;
  • For any antlered deer, there will be an additional restitution of $1,000 plus;
  • For antlered deer with 8 to 10 points (one inch or more), an additional $500 will be assessed for each point;
  • For antlered deer with 11 or more points, an additional $750 will be assessed for each point.

Powers was assessed $335 in fines and costs, $12,000 in restitution for payment to the state’s Fish and Game Protection Fund, and five days mandatory minimum jail time to be served as community service. In addition, the lowlife, uh, I mean convicted poacher, faces up to five years of hunting license revocations in Michigan and 41 member states that participate in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

“Ethical hunters, wildlife viewers and our officers are hopeful that increased penalties will cause potential violators to rethink the temptation of poaching a trophy deer while providing additional protection for this valuable wildlife resource,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler.