One of Nation’s Worst Deer Poachers Ordered to Repeatedly Watch “Bambi” as Part of Conviction

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The punishment should fit the crime, as the old saying goes. What crime could you possibly commit that would result in mandatory viewings of an almost 70-year-old Disney movie? Poaching. At least that’s part of a sentence handed down to a poacher who was caught in what authorities are calling one of the worst poaching cases ever in the US.

“The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste,” Lawrence County, Missouri Prosecuting Attorney Don Trotter said.

Part of the sentence requires the defendant “to view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter, during Defendants incarceration in the Lawrence County Jail.”

“The southwest Missouri case involves David Berry Sr. of Springfield, David Berry Jr. of Brookline, and Kyle Berry of Everton,” The Springfield News Leader writes. “The trio were involved in a multi-year investigation by state, federal and Canadian law enforcement agencies and conservation officers involving suspects in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Canada.”

David Berry Jr. is the one who has to watch Bambi. Berry and others tied to him are believed to be connected to at least 230 poaching cases.

For his part, Berry received a 120-day sentence in Barton County Circuit Court for a felony firearms probation violation. Earlier in the month, he was handed a one-year jail sentence in Lawrence County Associate Court for taking wildlife illegally.

“It is unknown how many deer the main group of suspects has taken illegally over the past several years,” Lawrence County Conservation Agent Andy Barnes told the paper. “It would be safe to say that several hundred deer were taken illegally.”

“In situations like this, with serial poachers who have no regard for the animals, rules of fair chase, or aren’t bothered by the fact that they’re stealing from others, it’s all about greed and ego,” Randy Doman, MDC Protection Division Chief told reporters.

“Taking just the heads is their version of obtaining a ‘trophy’ and leaving the carcass behind is merely an afterthought.  While there are some cases where poachers go after the antlers for profit, with this bunch it was more about the thrill of the kill itself.”

Now, Berry at least, will get to know a Disney classic.