7 people in West Virginia have had their hunting licenses revoked. They were all charged as part of the largest deer poaching bust in the state’s history. Those involved in the case include two former sheriff’s deputies. The case spanned three counties, involved several judges, required multiple attorneys, and revolved around massive sets of digital files to sift through. The legal process lasted almost a year.
The Cumberland Times-News obtained documents from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that show that hunting licenses have been revoked for 7 of the 8 poachers tied up in the case.
There are 223 separate charges filed in the case, which involves at least 27 different antlered bucks illegally taken in Mineral, Grant, and Hampshire counties. Those charges were initially filed in January 2022. Tyler Biggs and Dalton Dolly, who had been working as Mineral Country sheriff deputies resigned from their law enforcement jobs. Christopher Biggs who was working as the EMS Chief in Alleghany Country was suspended from his role due to an “alleged violation of the law.” Colton Broadwater, Ivy Rodehaver, Robert Horner Sr., Robert “Beau” Horner Jr., and Gregory Broadwater were also charged. There is no indication that Gregory Broadwater’s lifetime hunting license has been revoked despite being named in the case.
Poaching Ring Goes Back To Fall of 2021
The poaching offenses cited in the case date back to September, October, November, and December of 2021. Fines were based on trophy fees associated with the size of the racks on the 27 bucks. Other criminal charges from the case include spotlighting deer at night and traveling around with loaded guns in vehicles.
Evidence was fairly easy to collect once authorities started monitoring the case. Natural Resources Police Officers provided several statements on the subject. “We looked through the digital evidence and was able to put dates of kills with the pictures of the bucks that we had already confiscated as well as numerous other bucks that we did not have pictures of,” detailed one of the many written entries about the case. Several videos were obtained depicting spotlighting and illegal kills … as well as instant messages, Facebook messages, and cellphone location details.”
The 7 people charged in the case have all had their hunting privileges revoked. Time frames for that revocation include between 2 and 5 years up to a decade for the more serious offenders.
Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
Because their hunting privileges are suspended in their home states. That also means they’re prohibited from buying a hunting license pretty much anywhere in the United States. Under what’s known as the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, there is reciprocity for these types of violations in 48 states. According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Hawaii and Massachusetts are in the process of finalizing recognition of the Compact. That means the violators charged with poaching in this case will be unable to purchase a hunting license anywhere in the U.S. until their revocation expires.