CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — A 29-year-old man faces jail time, fines and the loss of his hunting and fishing privileges after admitting to illegally shooting and abandoning the deer carcasses in Northeast Kent County.
Edward Trout of Kent County pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanor charges at Kent County’s 63rd District Court on June 24, despite admitting to three instances of going out and shooting at deer.
The charges include:
- Two counts of hunting and fishing without a license (up to $250 in fines, per count).
- Taking game from a vehicle (up to $500 in fines).
- Taking, possessing deer out of season ($1,000 per deer).
- Using illegal fishing devices (up to $1,000 in fines).
Trout confessed his illegal shooting of deer to Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers.
The DNR has received tips of gunfire at night and deer carcasses located on or near properties in Nelson and Spencer townships.
"We received eight complaints in that area. Both in combination of Nelson and Spencer townships, specifically in Kent County. Thirteen deer were located that were killed illegally. And through our reports in our All Poaching Hotline, that's where the tips, the complaints came in, we were able to identify the suspect, which ultimately led to our investigation of that individual, where he did admit to going out and shooting three times at five deer," said Sgt. Jeff Rabbers, Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division.
Trout was interviewed by another Michigan DNR Officer where Trout admitted to going out and shooting at deer stating that he, “relieved frustration by driving around at night, listening to music and occasionally shooting his pistol into vacant fields from his pickup truck,” often while under the influence of alcohol and/or marijuana.
Trout had originally faced three charges in relation to shooting the deer, and then after failing to appear in court on June 3, he was subsequently charged with two more times for illegally taking snapping turtles.
The DNR alleges that he fished for turtles with a homemade spear in Pine Lake illegally. An officer for the DNR says they found multiple speared turtles, including one with a spear still in it.
“We’re grateful for the concerned community members who reported the many dead, gunshot deer that were discovered throughout these communities, which helped officers identify a suspect,” said Chief Dave Shaw, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “The suspect has continued to display repetitive, unethical behavior while stealing public trust resources and allowing them to go to waste.”
After pleading not guilty to the charges in court, Trout is due back July 19.
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