Recent legislation that increases financial penalties on those convicted of illegally killing big game has been enforced in a case involving an illegally killed trophy buck in Jefferson County.
Around 8:20 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning in 2016, Clarence Robertson, age 63, from New Market, shot an eleven-point buck from his driveway and across Piedmont Road in a neighboring hayfield where he did not have permission to hunt. He then drove his truck into the field to retrieve the deer.
Jefferson County Wildlife Officer Wayne Rich seized the deer and TWRA Wildlife Biologist Sterling Daniels measured the antlers giving it a gross score of 143 6/8 inches. Although the total score of the antlers didn’t come in to play, the number of antler points did. Recently amended legislation in TCA 70-4-116 allows for a judge to impose enhanced restitution fees for illegally killed or possessed trophy deer, and the more antler points on the rack, the higher the cost. For white-tailed deer with at least eight, but not more than 10 antler points, the fine is $1,000 per animal plus $500 for each antler point. For a white-tailed deer with 11 or more antler points, the fine is $1,000 per animal plus $750 for each antler point.
In Jefferson County General Session Court on Jan. 10, 2017, Robertson pleaded guilty to shooting a deer across a public road and on property where he didn’t have permission. The judge imposed a $50 fine plus $269 in court costs, as well as assessing a restitution of $9,250 for the trophy buck. Mr. Robertson’s hunting privileges are suspended until the fines and restitution have been paid. The high-powered rifle used to kill the deer was returned to the defendant.
Officer Rich said, “It is probably the biggest buck I’ve ever seen in Jefferson County.”
The Jefferson County High School FFA Hunters for the Hungry Club paid for the deer to be processed and donated the meat to charity. The hide and antlers of the trophy buck were returned to the property owner where the deer was killed.