Five Plead Guilty To Poaching Deer

Five men charged in an Illinois deer poaching case have entered guilty pleas, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement announced March 8.

aDeerPoaching.225300The charges stemmed from investigations conducted by IDNR Conservation Police officers, along with law enforcement officers from Michigan, Indiana and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011.

The case resolved during the last month, involving hunters from Illinois and Michigan, stemmed from violations of the Illinois Wildlife Code that occurred in 2011. Among the 31 deer seized in the investigation was a 213-5/8″ non-typical whitetail that was featured in an episode of “Whitetail Properties TV” in 2010 and touted as a potential new state bowhunting record.

The case disposition in Cook County included:

• Louis C. (“Cal”) Bergsma (age 35, from Galena, Ill.) – Convictions on unlawful falsification of IDNR harvest records, two counts of hunting without permission of landowner, two counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken deer; fines of $4,800, plus civil penalties of $7,750;

• Jonathan P. Bergsma (age 33, from Ada, Mich.) – Convictions on two counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken deer, one count each of unlawfully hunting without a hunting license, and unlawfully hunting without a habitat stamp; fines totaling $3,700;

• Daniel E. Bergsma (age 27, from Ada, Mich.) – Convictions on unlawful falsification of IDNR harvest records, two counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken deer, and one count of hunting without permission of landowner; fines totaling $2,500, plus civil penalties of $250;

• Douglas J. Bergsma (age 60, from Rockford, Mich.) – Convictions on unlawful falsification of IDNR harvest records, hunting without permission of landowner, and unlawful possession of the illegally taken deer; fines totaling $2,300;

• Tom E. Hedke (age 33, from Caledonia, Mich.) – Convictions on two counts of unlawfully hunting without a valid non-resident hunting license; fines totaling $1,000.

Each of the five men were also convicted in Michigan on counts of unlawful possession of illegally taken deer and unlawful importation of deer and each man was fined $245. Their cases included the illegal taking of 31 deer, including a buck taken in Cook County valued at $25,000.

Source: Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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