Deer Hunting LawsI saw this story about two men being charged with multiple counts having to do with an errant deer hunting excursion and just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring it to your attention. I’ve asked Todd Miler, a local criminal defense lawyer to write a guest blog and he’s done a nice job with this blog titled “Where’s Mo?” The last bit of advice is classic. First, here is the story. 

Two Men Charged With Multiple Deer Hunting Violations
Posted: 11/27/2012

GUTHRIE CENTER – Two men have been charged with multiple counts after one was injured while pursuing deer earlier this month near the intersection of 200th and Elm Avenue in Guthrie County.

Where’s Moe?

Two men have been charged with multiple counts after one was injured while pursuing deer earlier this month in Guthrie County.

Robert McCauley, 21, and Derrick Johnson, 27, were in possession of archery equipment northwest of Guthrie Center when they saw some deer headed in their direction coming across the road on Nov. 10th. According to the story, McCauley and Johnson pursued the deer in an attempt to shoot at the deer with bows and arrows that each was carrying. They crossed an open field running to get into position to get a shot, with McCauley running ahead of Johnson.

While part way across the field, McCauley tripped and fell with his head striking the bow above his left eye cutting him open. Officers believe when that occurred, Johnson, who was immediately behind McCauley, then ran into him with an arrow. The arrow struck McCauley half way between his left side and spinal cord in his lower back. At that time McCauley stood up and pulled the arrow out. Then he ran a short distance and collapsed on the ground where help was rendered by his friends and family until law enforcement and ambulance arrived to assist. McCauley was taken to the Guthrie County hospital and then transported to a Des Moines hospital.

McCauley was cited for no hunting license, no habitat fee paid, spotlighting, and no deer tag.

Johnson was cited for no hunting license, no habitat fee paid, spotlighting, no deer tag, and attempting to take deer.

Neither individual had been through hunter education.

It should go without saying: don’t try this at home. These were not trained experts. They are fortunate that both are still alive. I’m guessing they will both be attending the hunter’s safety class sometime soon, but these guys are not hunters and please do not classify them as hunters. Hunters are safe, legal and ethical. Hopefully these two men will learn from their mistakes and if they do want to hunt in the future, will do it right.

In the meantime, they’ve got legal issues. If convicted, they are facing substantial fines and a lengthy suspension from ever earning the privilege of hunting. Just from my reading of this news story, however, there is one obvious problem for the State in making these charges stick. First, a confession unless made in open court, without more, cannot result in a conviction. Second, a co-defendant’s statement, without more, cannot result in a conviction. It appears that’s all the state has in this case. These two rules of criminal procedure have developed over time and are designed to protect individuals from an untrusted government.

With a lawyer trained in criminal defense, these guys should walk. (Not run.)

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