John Blick Jr. of Sharon, Kansas, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay $327,641 in restitution for poaching 60 whitetail and mule deer. The bust is the result of a multi-year investigation leading to a 139-count indictment. Additionally, the 28-year-old will lose hunting privileges for five years and pay $15,000 in fines.
Charges include numerous counts of criminal hunting, hunting with aid of a motor vehicle, criminal discharge of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, failure to tag deer, exceeding bag limits, hunting with artificial light, hunting without a valid license, and illegal take of trophy deer.
All equipment seized, including multiple bows and firearms, will be forfeited to the state of Kansas. Several shoulder mounts and dozens of European mounts will also go to the state, which will be destroyed in accordance with statute 32-1047.
In a statement released on the Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism Facebook page, the agency hinted that there may be more busts to come. “The information provided and discovered during the course of the investigation will possibly lead to future prosecutions of other wildlife violators.”
Kudos to the investigators who solved this massive poaching case and brought the criminal to justice. Although the sentencing leaves something to be desired (specifically the 5-year loss of hunting privileges), Blick will spend the rest of his life working to pay back what he stole from the state and its citizens.