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Men arrested for violation of wildlife laws

Friday, February 24, 2012

Two Wabash Valley men were arrested Thursday by Indiana Conservation Officers for multiple alleged violations of wildlife laws.

A 12-month investigation conducted by conservation officers allege that James L. Jacob, 37, Brazil, committed one class D felony of unlawful sale or shipment of wild animals, in addition to five class B misdemeanors, and 14 class C misdemeanors, while Ronald Hayne, 62, Terre Haute, allegedly committed eight class C misdemeanors.

"The two individuals aided or induced clients to violate hunting laws," Indiana Conservation Officer Max Winchell said. "Our officers became aware of some violations and looked into it."

According to conservation officers, it is alleged that Jacob and Hayne aided their clients in hunting illegally while under their direction.

"They've been guiding their clients and aiding them to commit wildlife violations," Winchell said.

The alleged violations took place upon and around the area near the Prairie Grove Hunting Preserve, 2768 County Road 425 W., Brazil, which is owned by Jacob, in addition to other areas of rural Clay County.

According to officers, Hayne works as a guide for the hunting preserve.

Officials said, a hunting preserve is essentially a situation where hunters go to hunt animals that have been raised at the location.

The owners of the preserve are supposed to raise the animals and release them when they have clients at the location.

Conservation officers also seized three trucks, one mini-excavator, three rifles, five sets of white-tailed deer antlers, two gray fox, one wild turkey carcass, one mallard drake carcass and two computers.

Officials said the vehicles and firearms are subject to forfeiture upon conviction.

"(The investigation) has been going on for quite some time," Clay County Prosecutor B. Lee Reberger said. "They were violating wildlife gaming law, hunting out of season and using (illegal equipment)."

Both Winchell and Reberger said some of the violations included hunting in public areas outside of the preserve.

"It's a public safety concern," Winchell said. "Anytime you're shooting from a roadway at day or night, it's a public concern."

"It's a good old-fashioned safety issue," Reberger said, adding the alleged violations were "reckless."

Both added some of the violations included hunting specific animals out of season.

"The seasons exist to protect the wildlife," Winchell said.

According to Reberger, if convicted, both face fines for the infractions. Conservation officers stated a person convicted of illegal possession of a whitetail deer or wild turkey must reimburse the state $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each subsequent violation.

A class D felony conviction carries a penalty of six months to three years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. A class B misdemeanor conviction carries a penalty of up to 180 days in prison and fines of up to $1,000. In addition, a class C misdemeanor conviction carries a penalty of up to 60 days in prison and fines of up to $500.

Both Jacob and Hayne were transported to the Clay County Justice Center. Jacob's bond was set at $7,000, with 10 percent allowed, while Hayne's bond was set at $5,000, also with 10 percent allowed.

Officials added the Indiana Department of Natural Resources would b re-evaluating the license of the business to determine if it would remain open.

Readers are encouraged to comment on this article at www.thebrazi-ltimes.com.

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The arrest of these men is good work. Thank you for doing this.

-- Posted by AlexanderAlexander on Fri, Feb 24, 2012, at 10:23 AM

Benedick: They mention "shooting from a roadway" as what seems as something they may have violated. What if someone you cared for were injured or worse, while they were breaking one or more of these wildlife/hunting laws. Would you consider it to be a waste of money then, whether it takes a year or not, to charge then?

-- Posted by SMEEBS on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 10:59 AM

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