December 10, 2012
Austin Spain, of Lynn, Ind., killed what a Boone & Crockett official said was the "deer of a lifetime."
The only problem? Spain illegally poached the buck — his second this season in a state that only allows one per year.
According to Indiana state officials and a spokesman with B&C, the deer scored somewhere in the 180-inch range with 16 points, qualifying it for the national record books. But after Spain submitted a statement last week admitting that he had not shot it in Michigan per his original claim, he was charged with several misdemeanors relating to the incident, according to IndyStar.com. He also could face jail time if convicted.
Indiana conservation officer Jake Carlile said Spain killed his first buck in early November, and then shot the trophy buck the weekend of the Nov. 17. After an investigation into the incident, charges were brought against Spain and the deer was confiscated from a local taxidermy shop.
Keith Balfourd, a spokesman with B&C, said it's rare for most hunters to ever see a deer of that caliber, and a shame that Spain stole the opportunity from someone else.
"I have hunted whitetail deer for 35 years and I haven't shot one that was 160 inches. Less than one half of 1 percent of hunters ever take a Boone & Crockett-qualifying trophy."
"There are lots of concerns when it comes to poaching. Essentially, deer, and wildlife in general, belong to the public. It's a very unique model in North America. Wildlife doesn't belong to the government, it doesn't belong to corporations and it doesn't belong to royalty. By taking more than his fair share, this hunter has taken from the citizens of that state," Balfourd told IndyStar.com.
It seems greed got the better of Spain, who — as the old potato chip commercial once said — couldn't have just one. In the end he made it into the books; just not the ones he was hoping for.