Deer Poacher Gets Hit with Jail Time

Deer Poacher Gets Hit with Jail Time

A serial poacher will spend time behind bars after pleading no contest to six counts of failing to obtain a hunting license.

Ripon, Wis., resident Grant Boese was charged with a total of 128 counts, of which 122 were dismissed. Charges included spotlighting, shooting from a vehicle, shooting across a road and failing to obtain the proper licenses.

Boese and two others spotlighted deer over the course of at least three nights, according to various news reports, and tried to pass two nine-point bucks off as legal kills.

A deputy sheriff recognized Boese's truck as one matching the description of a vehicle involved in previous poaching complaints in the same area. When he tried to stop the truck, Boese fled, taking the deputy on a chase that got up to speeds of 90 miles per hour.

The other two men had yet to be sentenced, but Boese, 19, will spend six months in jail and will pay $6,800 in fines, court costs and restitution. He will also lose his hunting privileges for 12 years. Wisconsin is part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which prohibits convicted poachers from hunting in member states. Currently, 44 states are in the Compact.

Despite calls for a harsher sentence by some sportsmen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Nate Ackerman was generally pleased with the outcome.

"It's pretty rare for someone to get jail time for a wildlife violation," he says. "You have to remember that people get plea agreements for crimes involving other people all the time, so it's not at all unusual for poachers to avoid jail through a plea agreement."

Although he hasn't seen any changes in sentencing guidelines or in the severity of sentences in his decade-long career, Ackerman says many offenses do carry a mandatory three-year license revocation. District Attorneys typically recommend a punishment, but judges can overrule the recommended sentencing.

"That doesn't happen very often where I work," adds Ackerman.

Still, that's why some of the most egregious deer poachers get off with what many hunters would describe as a slap on the wrist.

Take the case of Wisconsin poacher Nathan Blaha. He was suspected of killing as many as 100 deer over the course of two years, mostly while spotlighting. His sentence? Six months in jail and $9,616 in fines and restitution.

"Charges are the result of the evidence and how officers build the case. A poacher may have shot a hundred deer, but there may only be evidence of one or two, so that may be all officers have to go on," says South Carolina Department of Natural Resources conservation police officer Captain Robert McCullough.

"Every case is different. Sometimes, you end up getting him for something completely different, so you have to get what you can in some cases if that may prevent him from continuing his illegal activity."

Many states are imposing tougher sentencing guidelines even when the crime may only involve one or two deer. A Michigan man, for example, was sentenced to five days in jail and ordered to pay $12,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to poaching two trophy-class bucks in 2014.

Jacob Powers, of Lowell, Mich., also lost his hunting privileges for five years after he shot the bucks while on a youth hunt with an 8-year-old.

His was the first case tried under tougher sentencing guidelines enacted earlier in the year, which were the first changes to poaching penalties since 1990. The new guidelines assess fines based on antler points, with penalties ranging up to $750 per point.

Pennsylvania changed its sentencing guidelines for poaching in 2010. Now serial poaching is classified as a felony, with fines up to $15,000 and three years in jail.

Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission

One-time poachers who spotlight a single deer could be fined $1,000 and spend up to 90 days in jail. They also face revocation of their hunting privileges for three years.

McCullough says the actual penalty is ultimately determined by the judge presiding over the case. He agrees with Ackerman that most poachers aren't given the maximum punishment allowed.

"We have to educate the judges and prosecutors about the ramifications of poaching natural resources and how it hurts law-abiding sportsmen," he says.

Ironically, it's not the monetary penalty or even the jail time that sends fear into the minds of convicted poachers. Nothing gets them to reconsider their crimes than the potential loss of their hunting privileges.

"They'd rather pay the fine, lose their car and even spend time in jail than lose their hunting license for a couple years," says McCullough. "It's dripping with irony that a poacher would be worried about losing his hunting license. I'll never understand it, but most of them seem more worried about that than anything else."

Recommended for You


Best New 2019 Crossbow Accessories

Laden Force - July 02, 2019

Check out some of the most innovative products hitting shelves this summer!

Early Season

3 Types of Late-Summer Bucks & How to Hunt Them

Garrett Tucker

Here's how to crack the summer code.

Land Management

No Matter the Season, Deer Orchard Work Brings Big Benefits to Whitetails

Lynn Burkhead - June 27, 2019

Sponsored By
Chestnut Hill Outdoors

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

On this edition of "Deer Factory," Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss tactics for establishing warm-season food plots.

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore explores the pitfalls of puppy training.

Fundamentals of the Bow Selection

On this edition of "On Target," Pat Hogan highlights the importance of applying the fundamentals of the draw cycle when it comes to the bow you select.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Land Management

Whitetail 101: What Do Deer Eat?

Dr. James C. Kroll - November 03, 2015

To the hunter, understanding what deer eat and how they adjust their diets over the year to...

Early Season

3 Types of Late-Summer Bucks & How to Hunt Them

Garrett Tucker

Here's how to crack the summer code.

Trophy Bucks

BREAKING NEWS: Brewster's 320-5/8-Inch Non-Typical Buck Pending World Record Announced

Lynn Burkhead - January 10, 2019

After weeks of speculation, the official 60-day entry score for Luke Brewster's epic Illinois...

See More Stories

More Industry


Minnesota DNR Examines Possible Case of Deer Mange

Mark Kenyon - May 12, 2014

Seemingly straight out of an episode of the popular show The Walking Dead, recent sightings of


Hole in the Horn Buck: Truth Revealed

Gordon Whittington - December 21, 2015

The Hole in the Horn buck is the most famous whitetail in the world, and for good...


Living with Lyme Disease

Alli Armstrong - October 01, 2015

A number of well-known deer hunters and other outdoorsmen from across North America have

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.