Decatur man faces prison time to shoot 9 trophy dollars


In a news release Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources faces a man in Decatur with a lifelong revocation of his prison time and hunting license.

Justin Ernst, 33, pleaded guilty on Monday for illegal poaching in the 36th Circuit Court in Van Buren County.

Money was discovered last October when Michigan police investigated an unrelated complaint about Ernst and found a deer hidden in a barn on the premises. DNR protection officers followed up on the tip and could not find Ernst at first, but police officers seized eight illegal deer from the premises after obtaining a search permit for the homeowner. ..

Michigan DNR Conservation Officers Tyler Cole (left) and Matt Page (right) seized nine poached trophies owned by Decatur Justin Ernst, 33, last October. Image provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Michigan DNR Conservation Officers Tyler Cole (left) and Matt Page (right) seized nine poached trophies owned by Decatur Justin Ernst, 33, last October. Image provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Two days later, DNR officers received information through the Report All Poaching hotline. Ernst was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, and informants suspected that he had received additional money prior to his arrest. DNR officers visited the barn for the second time and won another $ 1 trophy for a total of $ 9.

After searching Ernst’s vehicle, police officers also found two shotguns, a crossbow, a bloody crossbow bolt, and a handheld spotlight hidden under the driver’s seat.

According to the Michigan DNR, Ernst is suspected of driving a field on a truck to illegally shoot deer and ruining property and crops in the process. He was finally convicted of illegal possession of a white-tailed deer in 2018. His records also include felony charges for possession of drugs, escape from police officers, and driving a vehicle in a drunken state.

New accusations against Ernst include 1 count for felony possession of firearms, 1 count for obtaining a hunting license while not qualified, and 3 counts for illegal possession of white-tailed deer.

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Under his judicial transaction, Ernst will face the lifelong revocation of his hunting license. He is also ordered to pay a fine of $ 25,000 and will be sentenced to 18 months to 5 years in prison.

David Shaw, Assistant Chief of Michigan Natural Resources Law Enforcement, said: “I hope that this significant judgment has served its intended purpose and I am grateful for the powerful message submitted by the 36th Circuit Court.”

Contact Michigan DNR to report alleged poaching or other natural resource violations. Report all poaching 800-292-7800 hotline.

Lauren Wesington is the latest news reporter. She can send an email to [email protected] or find her on her Twitter @ laurenelizw1.

This article was originally published in Detroit Free Press: Decatur man faces prison time for poaching trophy dollars

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