OCT. 9 OFF THE MARK COLUMN — MARK SPENSLEY, CO-PUBLISHER
Bradley Slawson. Jerry Kaster. Brade Deriemacker. Andy Wulf. Ron Maquire. Blaine Burley. Robert Johnson. Tyler Tisue.
Most of you will not be familiar with any of these names. The Iowa DNR knows these men fairly well, unfortunately. Of course that depends on how you look at this situation.
All have been convicted of hunting illegally in the state of Iowa this past year. To be more specific, hunting deer illegally.
With the hunting season kicking off this month, I felt it was important to point these lawbreakers out. Three of them were found guilty of hunting over bait and their outfitter was charged as well.
Deriemacker was arrested for possessing a buck that measured over 200 inches. He lost his hunting equipment and hunting privileges for one year and was fined $5,000. When conservation officers recovered the rack it had another hunter’s tag on it. Several weeks earlier he had already harvested a buck.
Kaster poached a trophy deer using a .270 rifle while driving his minivan on a rural road. His buck also scored more than 200 inches. His assessment to the state was $20,000. He also lost his rifle and had his hunting privileges suspended.
He was also fined for falsely obtaining a landowner tag. During the investigation, officers discovered another person had sold a matched set of shed antlers to a collector for $8,000.
Slawson, from Minnesota, pled guilty to four counts of illegally taking a whitetail buck over a four-year period. He was ordered to pay $18,000 in civil damages. He forfeited his archery equipment and had his hunting privileges suspended as well. He also faces suspension of his right to hunt in 38 other states by the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
A couple of these arrests were the direct result of a call to the Turn in Poachers hotline. All of these acts were a selfish display of hunting and out of greed for money or a false sense of accomplishment.
It’s unfortunate but not surprising. When a record buck is brought to the public’s attention, it can often bring out the worst in hunters. Some will go to any lengths, be it trespassing, using illegal equipment or hunting before or after legal shooting hours.
These acts give us hunters who do hunt legally and ethically a bad name.