BROWNSBURG — Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating the illegal killing of a trophy deer during the early morning hours on Oct. 2 in northwest Marion County.
Witness information and evidence at the scene led investigating officers to Don Ward, 47, of Brownsburg.
Indiana Conservation Officer Jeff Wells said Ward admitted to killing the deer with a .270 caliber rifle during the predawn hours on private property near Eagle Creek Park.
“This poaching case serves as a prime example of how such a theft of our natural resources impacts Indiana’s deer hunting community,” Wells said. “The big buck was known and revered by local hunters. Area deer hunters have spent years lawfully pursuing the buck they had nicknamed ‘Nightmare.’”
Wells said lawful hunters are angry and upset that such a majestic animal would be killed in this manner.
In addition, he noted, shooting a high powered rifle at night in a residential area poses a significant public safety risk to people living nearby.
Indiana Conservation Officer Jet Quillen said the property owner notified authorities after becoming suspicious.
“The landowner heard the gunshot, observed this man on his property,” Quillen said. “The landowner actually confronted him. The suspect then left the scene. At that time, the landowner didn’t know what had happened, but officers came up and found the carcass of the deer.”
Charges related to the killing of the deer are under consideration. Quillen said charges would most likely be filed, but they will be filed in Marion County. He said they are still contemplating what charges would be filed and it may be up to a week or two before anything is decided.
Wildlife crimes are class B misdemeanor offenses with potential sentences of up to 180 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000 per violation. Additional penalties can include suspension of hunting privileges, reimbursement costs for the deer, and forfeiture of equipment involved.
Indiana Conservation Officers have been assisted in the ongoing investigation by Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department deputies.