Eight West Virginians are facing charges after an investigation launched in September connected them to the poaching of 27 bucks. This includes two former Mineral County sheriff deputies: Tyler Biggs and Dalton Dolly.
Both of them were suspended pending investigation, however, they later resigned. Also suspected of involvement is Christopher Biggs, Taylor Biggs’s father and the EMS chief of Allegany County Department of Emergency Services in Maryland. He faces felony charges, while the rest are misdemeanors.
The charges impacted four other men and one woman. A total of 223 poaching-related violations were reported in the investigation. According to Outdoor Life, these include: “25 counts of spotlighting, 32 counts of illegal wildlife possession, 26 counts of conspiracy, five counts of failure to register deer, 22 counts of hunting in a closed season, 24 counts of hunting from a vehicle, 17 counts of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, one count of an uncased firearm in a vehicle, 10 counts of exceeding the yearly deer limit, 20 counts of nighttime hunting, and one count receiving or transferring stolen property. ”
The investigation yielded further results after an anonymous tip in November. The West Virginia Natural Resources Police received information that suspect Colton Broadwater killed a buck using a spotlight, prompting them to find since-deleted photos on his social media accounts. He said he killed the deer in Maryland, but wildlife officials found a discrepancy with the number of checked-in deer. As a result, the NRP searched his house, where they recovered several illegal deer.
Additional findings included several cell phones with incriminating content. Videos, messages, and photos all confirmed the details of the illegal kills, including the locations at which they occurred.
How Much Is the Fine for Deer Poaching?
Because these crimes occurred in West Virginia, the suspects will face poaching fees. The amount varies for each poached animal, corresponding with the size of the deer. The larger the animal, the larger the fee. Of course, this is in reference to the spread of their antlers.
The base fine for poaching any deer is $500. As mentioned, there is an additional trophy replacement fee based on the main inside spread of the deer’s antlers. For antlers of 14 inches or greater but less than 16 inches, the fine is $2,500. If the spread is 16 inches or greater but less than 18 inches, it is $5,000. 18 inches or greater but less than 20 inches demands a fine of $7,500. Any larger than 20 inches incurs a penalty of $10,000. Subsequent violations are “subject to double the authorized range of replacement cost to be forfeited.”
According to the West Virginia Natural Resources Police, additional charges may be brought up as the investigation progresses.