Three men from Georgia pled guilty and were sentenced in Stuttgart (Ark.) District Court last Thursday on charges stemming from a video of one man beating a deer in the back of a sport utility vehicle.
The video, posted to social media in late January, quickly went viral, garnering thousands of views in a few days. It showed 20-year-old Joshua Rewis of Villa Rica, Ga., striking a deer with a textbook. According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s investigation, the deer had been hit accidentally by the SUV, and the men had loaded it into the back, thinking it dead. When it raised its head from behind the back seat, Rewis hit the deer with a textbook.
Rewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty and wasting wildlife charges. He received $2,250 in fines, 60 days of jail time on suspended sentence. He must also complete a psychological evaluation. Rewis also received 12 points of wildlife violations, which makes him ineligible to participate in any AGFC permit hunts for the next three years.
Cody Jones of Carrollton, Georgia, and Travis Strickland of Winston, Georgia, both pleaded guilty to criminal aiding and abetting for their part in the incident. Each received a $327 fine.
Col. Todd Callaway, AGFC chief of enforcement, said he feels that the plea deal was in the best interest of all involved.
“Arkansas has a rich tradition of ethical hunting and can’t abide the unethical and unnecessary cruelty displayed in the video,” Callaway said. “We want to make sure people realize it’s not right to act that way, but we also don’t want to ruin these young people’s lives for this poor decision.”
Johnna Sigler of Stuttgart was driving the vehicle when the incident occurred. She has already been issued a warning citation for aiding and abetting.
From Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine, the 2016 Whitetails Wall Calendarfeatures the work of deer researchers Wayne Laroche and Charlie Alsheimer, who reveal the 2016 whitetail rut prediction, based on years of lunar cycle research. Utilize this deer moon phase calendar to find out which days the deer will be seeking and chasing so you can time the rut for the best time to hunt.