A hunter charged with illegally taking wildlife in Missouri has been ordered to watch the iconic 1942 Disney classic, Bambi, at least monthly until the end of his year-long prison sentence, local paper The Springfield News-Leader reports.
The hunter, David Berry Jr., was part of a ring of men – including his father, his brothers and another man – hunting deer illegally in conservation agents have called one of the largest deer poaching cases in Missouri history.
Don Trotter, the prosecuting attorney said: “The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste.”
Conservation Agent Andy Barnes said: “It is unknown how many deer the main group of suspects has taken illegally over the past several years. It would be safe to say that several hundred deer were taken illegally.”
MBC Protection Division Chief Randy Doman explained the poachers’ choice to take only the deers’ heads:
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.
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.
After an eight-and-a-half-month investigation, starting in 2015, into incidents in far-flung places like Kansas, Nebraska and Canada, Berry’s dad, David Sr., and bro, Kyle, were arrested in August. An anonymous tip about deer poaching triggered the Missouri Department of Conservation‘s investigation.
Berry Jr. and his father each had their hunting, fishing and trapping permits revoked for life. Kyle Berry had his taken away for eight years, while Eric, their other brother, who was caught separately spotlighting deer to make them easier to hunt, had his revoked for 18 years.
All the men have had their hunting, fishing and trapping permits taken away, at least temporarily, and altogether have dropped $51K in fines and court costs.
But only Berry Jr. has been punished by the baby deer movie while he serves a year-long prison sentence, with Judge Robert George ordering him to set up a regular movie night in jail where he can “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“.
He was also sentenced to an extra 120 days in jail for violating his firearms probation.
Nothing like (SPOILER) watching Bambi’s ma die repeatedly to make you change your poaching ways.