illegal “spotlighting” of deer IN EASTERN OHIO leads TO FINES and forfeitureS
Five men pay a total of $6,750 in fines and court costs; some serve jail time
and forfeit firearms
ATHENS, OH – The illegal practice of “spotlighting” white-tailed deer (also known as “jacklighting”) has led to the convictions of five men in eastern Ohio on 27 counts of violating state wildlife laws, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Spotlighting is defined as “casting an artificial light from any vehicle into any field, woodland or forest (at night) while in the possession of a hunting device…for the purpose of locating a wild animal.” The practice is banned in Ohio for public safety and ethical reasons that violate principles of fair chase and good sportsmanship.
The five suspects, who were arrested in separate incidents in Guernsey and Coshocton counties, were ordered to pay a total of $6,750 in fines, court costs and restitution. A total of 16 days of jail time were served with an additional 285 days of jail time suspended. In addition, hunting privileges were suspended for four of the individuals and rifles and shotguns used in the illegal activities were ordered forfeit.
State Wildlife Officers Roby Williams and Bryan Postlethwait were on patrol in GuernseyCounty on the night of November 22 when they observed suspicious activity on the part of Charles D. Helphinstinein of Lawrenceburg, Indiana; William S. Bales and Jonathon E. Bales, both of Quaker City, Ohio. All three men were subsequently charged with a variety of wildlife violations centered on spotlighting.
During a routine traffic stop the following night, CoshoctonCounty sheriff’s deputies found two illegally harvested deer in the back of a pick-up truck and notified Officer Williams. Cody A. Farmer and Terry J. Foster, both of Coshocton, were subsequently charged with spotlighting and various other wildlife violations.
The men charged in GuernseyCounty appeared in Cambridge municipal court before Judge John Mark Nicholson and were convicted of the following:
Charles D. Helphinstine, 48, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana – five charges, including: transport of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, hunting deer with a gun during a closed season, spotlighting, and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle. Helphinstine paid $2,105 in fines, costs and restitution. His hunting license was revoked for three years. Ninety days of jail time was suspended and he was ordered to forfeit the rifle and shotgun used in the spotlighting.
William S. Bales, 65, of QuakerCity – seven charges, including: possessing untagged deer parts, illegal transport of a firearm, hunting deer during a closed season, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, and spotlighting. Bales paid $1,605 in fines, costs and restitution and served 10 days in jail. His hunting privileges were revoked for three years and he forfeited the rifle used in the spotlighting.
Jonathon E. Bales, 23, of QuakerCity – five charges, including: hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, spotlighting, aiding in unlawful taking of a deer in the closed season, and transporting a loaded firearm. He paid $605 in fines and court costs, served six days in jail, and faces three years of hunting privilege revocation.
The men charged in CoshoctonCounty appeared in Coshocton municipal court before Judge Timothy France and were convicted of the following charges:
Cody A. Farmer, 19, of Coshocton – four charges, including: spotlighting, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, possessing untagged deer parts, and hunting deer with a gun during a closed season. Farmer was ordered to pay $1,270 in fines, court costs, and restitution. Seventy-five days of jail time was suspended. He also faces a two-year hunting privilege revocation.
Terry J. Foster, 19, of Coshocton – six charges, including: spotlighting, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, possessing untagged deer parts, and hunting deer with a gun during a closed season. Foster was ordered to pay $1065in fines, costs and restitution. The judge suspended 120 days of jail time.
Many investigations and surveillance are the result of concerned citizen reports and anonymous calls to the Division of Wildlife’s Turn-in-a-Poacher hotline. Callers can leave information on the TIP line 24 hours a day. To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-POACHER, or submit information online at www.wildohio.com