It’s amazing how some people think they can get away with dishonest behavior.
It’s more amazing when they brag about it.
Apparently egos outweigh common sense and they’ll share a success, no matter how illicit, on the wide world of the internet and social media.
That’s what led Indiana Conservation Officers to the arrest of a 21-year-old Randolph County man who allegedly shot a monster buck illegally — a buck destined for the record book.
State officers and investigators followed their suspicions and the electronic trail to Austin Spain who is charged with killing a 16-point monster buck illegally on opening day of gun season.
It was illegal because Spain already had killed a buck in the fall, according to reports. In Indiana, you’re allowed only one a season.
The deer was destined for the record book, too. Its non-typical antlers were officially scored last week at 181 5/8. The minimum for the Boone and Crockett record book is 160.
“It’s the deer of a lifetime and a guy could hunt 30 years and never see a deer that large,” said East Central Indiana Conservation Officer Jake Carlisle, who helped spearhead the investigation.
Carlisle, formerly of Dowagiac, said Spain initially claimed he shot the buck in Michigan.
“I heard about it and saw the internet postings, so I contacted some Michigan officers I know and found out he actually didn’t have a Michigan license,” said Spain, an honors graduate from Michigan State’s School of Criminal Justice. “I was particularly interested since I’m a deer hunter and still hunt my family’s property up there.”
Carlisle, by the way, was Indiana’s District 21 Officer of the year this season. He also has been moved to LaGrange County, Ind. where he will begin work later this month.
The officer wouldn’t reveal how the investigation came together, but says emails and internet postings were pivotal.
“With today’s social media, someone always hears or talks about these kind of things,” said Carlisle.
When confronted with evidence he didn’t have a Michigan license, Spain changed his story. He told officers he had killed it on a private high-fence operation, but later admitted he shot the buck in Indiana and didn’t have the appropriate license.
Spain now faces charges for illegal taking and possession of deer and illegal tagging.
The deer mount, which had been taken to a taxidermist, will be forfeited to the state and likely used for DNR display or within Indiana’s Hunter Education Program.
If you read the latest press release from the Michigan DNR, you get the impression the deer gun season was pretty good.
Southern Michigan hunters might want to dispute that. In fact, the pocket from Cass County to Branch County and northward were anything but good, due to the outbreak of the EHD virus that killed thousands of deer this fall.