SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police today announced three men arrested in 2011 following an investigation of deer poaching case pleaded guilty.
Christopher G. Kiernan, 46, of Minooka pleaded guilty on April 5 in Grundy County Circuit Court to charges including unlawful take of the 36-point deer, unlawful take of a 16-point deer, unlawful take of an 11-point deer, unlawful possession of an 11-point deer, and three counts of hunting without permission. The 36-point non-typical buck was valued at $35,000, according to the DNR.
Kiernan was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the DNR and $840 in fines. The court ordered that he cannot hunt for 24 months. Deer and hunting equipment were seized and forfeited to the DNR. Additional suspension of hunting privileges is pending in Kiernan’s case now that the criminal case has concluded. Kiernan previously pleaded guilty in Sangamon County Circuit Court to unlawfully falsifying hunter harvest records and was fined $1,200.
Larry S. Smith, 50, of Chesterfield, Ontario pleaded guilty in Sangamon County to falsifying hunter harvest records and was fined $800. He pleaded guilty in Grundy County to hunting without permission and illegal possession of a 16-point deer, and was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to DNR and fined $300. Smith’s deer and equipment were seized and the court ordered that he cannot hunt in Illinois for 24 months. The DNR suspended Smith’s hunting privileges for 25 months.
Garrett L. Armstrong, 32, of Avon, N.Y. pleaded guilty in Sangamon County to charges of falsifying hunter harvest records and was fined $800. He pleaded guilty in Grundy County to two counts of illegal taking of deer for violations involving a 10-point and an 11-point deer, and three counts of hunting without permission. He was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to the DNR, fined $625 and forfeited deer and equipment to DNR. Armstrong also cannot hunt in Illinois for 24 months by court order, and the DNR imposed a 58-month suspension of his hunting privileges.
Finally, charges were filed against an Illinois taxidermist. Chad M. Johnson, 39, of Abingdon pleaded guilty in January in Knox County Circuit Court to three counts of failure to maintain complete taxidermy records and failure to report harvest of a 10-point deer. Johnson was fined $1,000 and forfeited the 10-point buck to the DNR. A suspension of Johnson’s taxidermy license is pending with the DNR.
DNR police investigated the poaching with assistance of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Alberta Sustainable Resources Department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, according to the DNR.