BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (AP) — A 16-year-old Bridgeport boy has been charged with illegally killing a trophy buck deer and could be fined $1,000 if convicted.
The Division of Natural Resources says a taxidermist reported the boy after he brought in a 10-point buck and claimed it had been shot with a bow and arrow.
Officers recovered a bullet and determined the deer was shot before rifle season.
When confronted with the bullet, the DNR says the teenager admitted he shot the deer with a rifle from a tree stand on Youth Hunting Day Oct. 29.
Only antlerless deer can be killed on Youth Hunting Days.
The teen was cited for killing deer during closed season, illegal possession of wildlife and improper checking of game. The case is in Harrison County Magistrate Court.
Here’s my question: What responsibility does the young person’s adult companion have in this matter? The law requires that all youth hunters be accompanied by a properly licensed adult who remains close enough to render immediate advice and assistance.
And the AP story significantly underestimates the fines. The $1,000 fine is only the “enhanced replacement fee” for a buck with a 14-inch minimum antler spread. There will likely be other fines — a minimum $200 standard whitetail replacement fee plus magistrate-determined fines for killing deer during a closed season, illegal possession of wildlife and improper checking of game. And on top of all those, court costs will be added.
If, indeed, a responsible adult was present during the hunt, he or she should be held at least partially responsible.
UPDATE: When I wrote the preceding paragraphs, I completely forgot that 16-year-olds are allowed to hunt during the youth season without adult supervision. Youths age 15 and under are required to have adults along; youths age 15 to 18 may hunt independently. For some reason, I completely brain-cramped on that point. Sorry.