A Missouri man charged with taking part in the illegal killing of “several hundred deer” was ordered to undergo an unusual punishment as part of his sentence.
David Berry Jr., part of a southwest Missouri family arrested for killing and leaving deer to rot after removing their heads, has been ordered to watch the animated Disney classic “Bambi” once a month while he is in prison, Fox News reported.
The 29-year-old was sentenced earlier this month to one year in Lawrence County jail and 120 days in a nearby county prison for a felony firearms probation violation. Berry Jr. along with David Berry Sr. and Kyle Berry were arrested in one of Missouri’s “largest conservation cases involving the illegal taking of deer,” according to the state’s Conservation Department.
“Conservation investigators estimated that the group was responsible for killing hundreds of deer over a three-year period,” Don Trotter, Lawrence County prosecuting attorney, said in a statement.
The poachers allegedly took the heads of the “trophy bucks” and left “the bodies of the deer to waste.”
“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, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s protection division chief, told the Springfield News-Leader.
“Taking just the heads is their version of obtaining a ‘trophy,’ and leaving the carcass behind is merely an afterthought,” he continued. “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.”
While serving out his sentence behind bars, Berry Jr. “is to view the Walt Disney movie, Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before Dec. 23, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter,” according to court records obtained by the Springfield News-Leader.
The 1942 animation follows the story of Bambi, the young deer whose mother is killed by hunters.
According to Fox News:
David Berry Sr. and Eric Berry were also previously convicted of taking gamefish by hand in Dade County. Eric Berry, too, was caught spotlighting – the method of shining lights at night to catch deer – in 2017, according to the Conservation Department.
David Berry Sr. and David Berry Jr. have had their hunting, fishing and trapping privileges permanently revoked. Eric Berry had his privileges rescinded for 18 years; Kyle Berry had his revoked for eight years.
The arrested members of the Berry family were caught and convicted through Missouri’s Operation Game Thief program.
“To date, this group of poachers has paid $151,000 in bonds and $51,000 in fines and court costs and collectively served 33 days in jail,” according to the Conservation Department.
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