Chase Cominsky—one of the two anglers found guilty of putting lead weights in walleye in the infamous Lake Erie Walleye Scandal—is currently facing multiple wildlife violation charges.
A Pennsylvania Game Warden assigned to Mercer County filed eight charges against Cominsky, alleging that between 2013 and 2021, he harvested several whitetail deer out of season and without a valid license. These charges include the unlawful killing or taking of big game, unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife, unlawful acts concerning licenses, failure to attach a tag to big game, and lending a kill tag.
The 36-year-old hasn’t been able to hunt legally since 2008 because of previous violations. So when the Pennsylvania Game Commission got a tip that Cominsky had taken several antlered deer between 2013 and 2021 after legal shooting hours or during a closed season, they had to investigate the situation.
The game warden found five antlered whitetail mounts in Cominsky’s living room—all mounted between 2013 and 2021. Three of the five trophy whitetails were illegally tagged under his wife’s name.
According to WMFJ News, Cominsky’s wife told game officials she never killed a deer but claimed her husband had shot the mounted deer with a gun or crossbow.
Cominsky is also awaiting trial in Mercer County Common Pleas Court in a separate case involving charges of conspiracy to commit forgery and theft by deception—he allegedly gave his son counterfeit $100 bills to spend in a local bowling alley. The 18-year-old has already been placed on probation for one year after pleading guilty to theft by deception.
After the walleye tournament brought public shame, a jail sentence, and forfeiting a $130,000 boat and fishing privileges, you’d think he might reconsider his path in life. But that’s not exactly how the minds of “lifetime poachers” work.
Sam Lawry, a retired Arizona Game and Fish Department officer told MeatEater that he separates poachers into two categories: lifetime poachers and opportunistic poachers. “The lifetime poacher you’re not going to change,” he said. “[A license suspension] didn’t affect them at all. They’d just be more cautious.”
So how do we stop "lifetime poachers" like Cominksy? The best hope is that he is sentenced justly through the due process of the law. He is scheduled for arraignment on November 14 in Mercer County Court.
Feature image via The Sportsmen Party Facebook Page, (Cominsky is pictured on the left).