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Judge Hands Down Unusual Sentence in Game Poaching Case

One of the most unusual hunting crime cases in the nation came to a close with one of the most unusual criminal sentences.

Oregon State wildlife troopers say the Donoho family had virtually wiped out the deer population in the McKenzie Wildlife Management District in which they hunted. A father and son admitted to killing more than 300 deer over a five-year period. Oregon allows most hunters only one deer per hunting season.

The two faced more than 130 criminal charges of game poaching and "poaching-related" crimes that included racketeering, identity theft, forgery and illegally transferring hunting tags. It was identity theft for the purposes of creating a fake hunter profile that resulted in to the two, and an associate, ultimately being caught and charged.

The father and son could have received prison sentences of three and six years, but in a bid to have the punishment fitting the crime, Judge Charles Carlson handed down the following sentence:

  • The Donohos must report to the county jail on October 1 (deer hunting opener) each year for the next four years to serve 90-day jail sentences
  • They both lose hunting privileges for life
  • They must both complete 5 years of supervised probation
  • The father must pay $20,000 in restitution to the state
  • The son must pay $42,000 in restitution to the state
  • The son must complete 400 hours of community service, speaking to hunting groups and boy scouts about his crime
  • The son must complete counseling for "hunting addiction"

Source: The Register-Guard, "Poachers will spend deer seasons in jail," by Karen McCowan

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