Game wardens are at their best when they catch the really bad guys, those who kill animals for the thrill of it, who care nothing about laws and rules, who delight in breaking them. A few years ago wardens rounded up a group of poachers in my area, utilizing a game warden from another state to infiltrate the poaching ring and collect incriminating information.
I was surprised, when it was all over, how little the leaders of the poaching ring paid in fines and how short was their stay in jail. But just this morning, I read in the news that a guy who shot and killed another hunter three years ago, and was later arrested for sexual assault, received a sentence of 15 years for the sexual assault (with all but seven years suspended), but just 2 ½ years for killing that other hunter (with that sentence served at the same time as the other). He was also ordered to pay more than $5000 to the family of the man he killed. And he lost his hunting license for 10 years, but of course, he’ll be in jail for seven of those years.
I am also remembering the year that I opposed, on behalf of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the renomination of a northern Maine Judge who had belittled our fish and game laws many times in her courtroom. Of course, the Judge got another term from the legislature. Today, there are District Attorneys who do a good job of prosecuting those who violate our hunting and fishing laws, and others who do not.
Yesterday I received a press release from the Maine Warden Service about a group of Aroostook County poachers who were caught and prosecuted, and whose sentences were handed down by the Judge on May 28. Rather than rewrite this, I’ll give it to you just the way I received it from the Warden Service, with my thanks for their good work on this case.
On Thursday, May 28, Reid Caron (37) of Allagash was sentenced for his illegal hunting activities stemming from a 2012/2013 Maine Warden Service investigation into illegal hunting activity in the Allagash region. Caron plead guilty and was sentenced in Aroostook County Superior Court for 39 hunting related violations including:
∙ 9 Counts of Night Hunting
∙ 3 Counts of Hunting Under Influence
∙ 5 Counts of Closed Season Violation
∙ 4 Counts of Hunting After/Exceeding Limit on Deer
∙ 4 Counts of Illegally Hunting Antlerless Deer
∙ 2 Counts Possession of Night Hunted Deer and Moose
∙ 1 Count of Guiding W/out a License
∙ 1 Count of Hunting Moose without a Permit
∙ 1 Count of Possession Unregistered Deer
∙ 1 Count of Over Limit/Possession of Grouse
∙ 7 Counts of Shooting from/Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle
Caron was sentenced to 364 days in the Aroostook County jail with all but 90 days suspended. He was assessed fines in excess of $21,000.00 and 365 days administrative release.
During his sentencing, Justice Hunter commented that the fish and game laws are significant and important whereas they ensure our valuable natural resources will be protected for generations to come. He indicated that is clearly emphasized by the minimum mandatory penalties required through the statutes.
Game Warden Lieutenant Dan Scott commented that “Mr. Caron is an example of a repeat, intentional game violator with a blatant disregard for all hunting laws. He had been apprehended in the past for similar activity but continued his illegal hunting undeterred. Whereas this time he was the target of an extensive, in-depth investigation, and subsequent substantial penalties, we hope Mr. Caron will discontinue his abuse of our natural resources.” He added Caron will face significant loss of hunting and fishing privileges through license suspensions by the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Earlier this year, two of Caron’s co-defendants were sentenced for their participation in similar activity.
Carter McBreairty (59) of Allagash was sentenced for:
∙ Three counts of Hunting Under the Influence
∙ Three counts of Exceeding Bag Limit on Deer
∙ Three counts of Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle
∙ Night Hunting
∙ Failure to Register a Deer
∙ Over Limit of Brook Trout
He received 364 days in jail with all but 30 days suspended and 60 days of 24-hour home confinement. He was ordered to pay fines in excess of $8,500. He too will face additional Maine fish and wildlife license suspensions.
Jess McBreairty (51) of Allagash was sentenced for:
∙Hunting Deer During the Closed Season
∙Exceeding the Bag Limit on Deer
∙Possessing an Antlerless Deer without a Permit
∙Hunting with a Revoked License
∙Having a Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle and violating his bail conditions.
He was sentenced to 50 days in the Aroostook County Jail (time served) and more than $3,000 in fines.