Caribou Gear

B&C Deer ...Fine for the hunter


New member
Mar 2, 2002
Lone Star State
Man Fined for Taking Big Buck Illegally on WMA
FAIRFIELD, Texas -- Mature white-tailed buck deer have a propensity for disappearing during hunting season. It's a character trait that enables them to reach maturity in the first place.
Big bucks vanish by traveling mostly under the cover of darkness and they seldom leave the safe confines that dense vegetation offers. So it came as no surprise to Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists on the Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area to catch glimpses of a particularly large-antlered buck only during their nighttime deer census surveys or through spotting scopes from great distances.

"We see a lot of our big deer at night during our spotlight surveys," said Jeff Gunnels, area manager on TPW's 13,700-acre Richland Creek WMA in Navarro and Freestone counties. "But, this one deer in particular was tremendous."

He guessed the buck to be about 5 years old; heavy beamed antlers on a typical eight-point frame, but with tree root-like clusters of points jutting out in all directions.

Gunnels was hoping that one of the bow hunters accessing the WMA during archery season with a TPW Annual Public Hunting Permit would get a shot at this deer of a lifetime. He knew the odds of that happening were pretty slim, considering archers account for only 10 percent of the annual deer harvest in Texas and less than one-sixth of those hunters who take a deer with a bow do so during the October archery-only hunting season.

By the end of the 1999 archery season no hunters had claimed the prize and in fact, no one reported seeing the big buck. Period.

Then, in late January 2000, Joseph Randall Haydon brought a set of deer antlers to a sporting goods shop in Fairfield to be mounted by their taxidermist. The people at the shop became suspicious when Haydon claimed to have killed the deer on Richland Creek WMA during bow season three months earlier, yet this was the first anyone had heard of such a magnificent deer being taken - especially off of public land.

Haydon hadn't preserved the deer's head or cape with the antlers, as one would typically expect with a specimen of this magnitude brought for mounting. The antlers were untagged when taken to the taxidermist. When questioned by the taxidermist, Haydon claimed he had lost his hunting license. Haydon obtained a duplicate license to tag his antlers, which sparked a call to the local game warden.

Word of the Richland Creek monster buck got back to Gunnels and the WMA staff began checking their registration slips from the 1999 archery season and found Haydon had only checked in once - on the opening day of the season. With an Annual Public Hunting Permit, hunters had open access to the WMA during archery season, but were required to fill out a registration card each time they entered the property. Haydon had informed the game warden he killed the buck around the third week of bow season, which led authorities to believe he may have taken the deer illegally.

"This wasn't his first rodeo," explained TPW Game Warden Captain Robert Carlson, who oversaw the ensuing investigation into how Haydon obtained the deer. "The local wardens are very familiar with him."

Following an investigation by Freestone County Game Warden Gary Robinson, Haydon was charged with failing to fill out a registration card prior to hunting, which is a Class C misdemeanor. Although a minor infraction - the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket - a criminal conviction would return the antlers, which appeared to have been illegally taken, to the State of Texas.

In December 2001, a jury in Freestone County returned a guilty verdict against Haydon and assessed a $250 fine. A person convicted of illegally taking a wildlife resource in Texas is also subject to civil restitution for the value of the lost resource and in this case, the penalty was severe.

The civil restitution for a white-tailed buck is based on the size of the animal's antlers and measured under the Boone & Crockett Club scoring system. This buck grossed 208 points and netted 195 points after deductions - a score that could potentially qualify for the Boone & Crockett Club record book. Civil restitution amounted to $12,189.50.

Haydon was also ordered to forfeit the antlers, which will go on permanent display at Richland Creek WMA.
i read this story two times........i still dont see the good guys.....someone point them out for me......all i see is a dumb-ass,a taxidermist and some puke game wardens.....maybe im missing something :rolleyes: :D .....JB
Ok JB...I'm sure many are wondering, as I am,, in your infinite wisdom, do you see the game wardens as pukes in this story?

I'm assuming it's because the game wardens could only prove a violation equal to a traffic violation, but confiscated the antlers? A violation is a violation, and if you're not willing to pay the consequences, don't break the law. Do you really think the guy didn't poach the deer? :rolleyes:

i never said they were pukes in this story.
do i think he was guilty?
not enough info to make that call......i would need more information before i could say he was guilty.

and i would like that information from someone other than the pukes.

any other questions?

;) ......JB
Hmm, after re-reading your first post I realize I MAY have misconstrued what you were saying. ;)

i was thinking you would have a comeback of "all game wardens are not pukes" or something similar...and i know they are not all bad....but who's got time to sift through them,trying to find a good one.

ill just continue to avoid them best i can......kinda like the clap!

CALI,whats does your brother do?

(maybe i can say something real obnoxcious about him for ya)
He is in the endangered species enforcement department. I think he specializes in bugs, reptiles and amphibians. One of his "projects" is the Valley Elderberry Beetle... Actually, most of the people he works with do hunt, even if they are eco-nazis. say you don't see enough to say the guy is guilty...............he logged in once to hunt on opening day yet told wardens he killed the buck while hunting there 3 weeks later.....thus admiting to the lessor offense of hunting illegally.......his dumbass should have bee locked up, but I guess 12 grand of hi hard earned money is better than nothing........

And lets not overlook the "GOOD GUYS" hadealings with this criminal before, so they knew what that were up against, just took what they could get............kinda like getting Capone for tax evasion ;)

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 03-15-2002 20:39: Message edited by: Deerslayer ]</font>
your assuming the information given by the game wardens is fact........but the fact of the matter is they only insinuaited(i really need a spell check feature) that the man was under suspect for previous violations....but dont mention what they are....after making a statement such as that,doesnt that paint a unfair picture of a man accused of a crime?isnt that what unconsciously leads you to believe he's guilty?...if in fact,there were previous investigations but they led to no conviction, what were they? again,not enough information given for me to say he must be guilty.

also,the statements of the nature of this buck, made by the game warden kinda raises a flag too me....he says it has been seen mostly at night(duh!...he's a real whitetail expert....most people wouldnt know that cause were not all whitetail experts like him)trying to lead you to believe the deer was taken at night...but with no evidence.
then,he goes and says its also been seen during the day through spotting scopes......("spotting scopes".....meaning more then one time or there were three game wardens with three differnt scopes looking at the deer at the same time)..blowing his theory of it must of been shot at night out of the i guess this deer does sometimes dare show his face during daylight,that must mean that sometimes record class bucks are taken by legal means........great news for me,i still got a shot at getting one!the way he talks,only way to get a buck like that is to poach one.

so now were left with the statement made by the warden that"he said he took it in the third week of bow season"

i dont buy it!....sounds to easy to me.
i dont believe anyones that stupid....i dont think thats what the guy said.but he very well may have...... may seem that im saying the guy must be innocent.....but you would be mistaken......i only believe that with the information posted,there is no way to reach a judgement of guilt.

definetly an unfair fine to pay if his infraction was not signing in at the desk the day he killed this deer........

i think some may have jumped the gun in celebrating his conviction based on the information given. ;)

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
i dont normally make long winded post but i figure "when in Rome do as the Romans" :D :D :eek:
......JB(never wrong,only obnoxious)
Ahhhhh........but JB,......I think they had more than him illeaglly failing to sign in where required to do so by law to hunt.
He also turned in antlers that had no tag.......and after being questioned, he said he lost it THEN applied for a duplicate.
He gave the harvest date not knowing it ould be checked back against the old log book.......firt rule, if your gonna lie about when you poached something, atleast get the date right a time when you can at least be legally placd in the hunt area! ;)

But you are right........we don't know all the facts.......but he had his due process, and a chance for either he or his attorney to present all the facts on his behalf...........and a jury of 12 of his peers saw the facts of the cae.......and deemed him guilty of breaking the law.
The law is the law.......and law breakers should not be rewarded with keeping their ill-taken game no matter how big the head is........just my opinion of course.

You sound as though you feel the guy was railroaded...........let' not overlook this thing went to jury it was 12 everyday citizens and not the game wardens tha took his ill-gotten bounty away........
ok....thats a good point....he had a jury trial and he was found guilty...
but the whole thing still sounds a bit strange...they dont say he lost the tag,they said he lost his "hunting licence" now who made that misleading staement?the game warden perhaps?....i dont know how they got things set-up in texas for checking in deer but here in MD its pretty tough to pull one over on the system...especially when your talking of a tropy of that quality......if you shoot a deer here,you have 24 hrs to check it in and also it must be checked in the county or ajoined county where the deer was taken..with a description of the antlers(how many points on each side)making it a lil tougher to re-use a if you shoot one and dont find it until days later the 24 hrs starts when you find the deer.

i would like to hear from someone in texas to explain their rules for checking in deer.
from the information given,i think this deer was checked in prior to him droping the head off at the taxi's for mounting or the it would say there was never a record of this animal be harvested.....thats probably why they only could get a conviction on him not signing in at the desk.

so,if that is the case,its an unfair fine to pay for such a small infraction........12 juriors found him guilty of not signing in at the desk,,,,however they did not find him guilty of shooting a deer out of season or at night nor did they set the fine for his crime.....also,its a damned shame that this game warden would make these insinuations of this guy shooting this deer at night with no evidence at all....dontcha think?...if he wouldnt of made these insinuations i think you would have a diffnt opinion on this story.
something in this story stinks! i have a feeling it smells like d.n.r.!

(you waited three days to reply and thats all you came up with?when i saw the new post made by ds,three days later, i was afraid to open it in fear of the litterary lashing that was about to be unleashed on me! :rolleyes: ) ;) ...JB

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 03-18-2002 12:04: Message edited by: J.B. ]</font>
I don't think there was any insinuation that the guy shot it at night. They simply mentioned that it was MOSTLY seen at night. The area manager even said that he was hoping a bow hunter would get a crack at the buck. Maybe we are both reading more into the story than was written, only from opposite sides. You are looking for evidence to incriminate the law officers and I'm looking for evidence to incriminate the poacher.

I would suspect that an investigation would include an attempt to locate other parts of the deer, including the kill site, processed meat, etc. Do you think that if you killed a buck like that, you could prove you shot it legally? I'm pretty sure I could. I probably wouldn't wait 3 months to tell others about the deer either. Not that that is illegal, but you've got to admit it's more than a little suspicious.

You're right in saying that with the info provided one can't reach a guilty verdict. I guess some of us assumed that the system worked correctly and some assumed that the system shafted this guy.

I'd say that we don't know the whole story and we each want to make opposite sides out to be the bad guys. Fair enough, but I guess I just don't understand your way of thinking! :confused:

let me tell ya oak,if i killed a buck like that i wouldnt have to prove jack poop!for one,i wouldnt be taking it to a guy that if he had a question about a deer tag or something about how i killed it,he wouldnt be calling the game warden to find out how i got it ,he'd call me.(so there is why i think the hunter must be a real dumbass,for not knowing the taxidermist) a matter of fact,i wouldnt do business with that type of person at all....he had issues with the hunter not having a tag,he should of called him directly.if he still felt there was something wrong he should of called the guy and said"come get you horns,i cant help ya".....i never liked a tatle tale!.....and dont go assuming i must be a poacher,i got one mountable buck in thirty years of hunting .....if i resorted to poaching, i would call myself a name like deer slayer or sumthin(jk ds,he,he,he)
and two,you can bet your ass that you'd see my non-smileing face on some magazine or yeah,i may have told a few people......we dont know that this guy didnt tell his friends...we only know that he didnt drive it to the game wardens house to show him the deer.

yes oak, we are on two diff sides here....i always assume someone is innocent until proven guilty....i see no reason what so ever for anyone to have to prove that they are innocent of a crime....thats how we do things here in the good ol USA....where r u from,anyway?:D

and when someone is proven guilty of a minor infraction and then sentenced as if it were a major crime because the prosecutor coulndt prove his say they are abuseing our justice system.

sniper,feel free to jump in here,you started this crap!

:rolleyes: i just want to let you guys my mind's eye, im winning this arguement and you guys are making total asses of yourselves! :rolleyes: :D :D :D ;) ...JB

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 03-18-2002 15:05: Message edited by: J.B. ]</font>
That's ok J.B., I've made an ass of myself before, and I'm sure I'll do it again! ;) (although you must be crazy to think you're winning... :D )

Number one, I didn't say anything about you being a poacher, I don't know how you read that in what I typed....

Number two, I didn't say that the guy was guilty until proven innocent, I said that I have faith that there was evidence that wasn't mentioned in the story that proved they guy was guilty, and the system worked like it is supposed to. Maybe I'm naive...

Number three, the article doesn't say that the taxidermist called the game warden because the guy didn't have a tag. It says that Haydon bought a duplicate tag(I don't know about Texas, but in CO that can only be done at a DOW office) and that prompted a call to the game warden.

If the guy is supposed to have tag for the deer antlers when he takes it to the taxidermist, I don't think the taxidermist is at fault for asking Haydon for one. If you re-read the article you'll see that the taxidermist asked the poacher, not the game warden about it, then the guy went and bought a duplicate. So, I'd say that the taxidermist was just doing his job.

As for the sentencing, I don't think the guy was found guilty of a minor infraction but sentenced for a major crime. Regardless of the circumstances, an illegally harvested deer means that ANY law was broken in the taking of the deer. Therefore, the compensation to the state is the same. Here in CO, if you break any law while harvesting an animal, you're charged with illegal possession of that animal. The penalty for that infraction is the same across the board.

I don't know why I keep wasting my time with these long posts. I don't think we're changing each other's minds any time soon! :D

Maybe I just like winning... ;) :rolleyes: :D

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