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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2011

IDNR Conservation Police Charge 5 Individuals in Deer Poaching Case
Largest buck valued at $25,000

Springfield, IL –   The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement announced recent charges filed in Cook and Sangamon Counties against five men from Illinois and Michigan. The arrests came after a five month long deer poaching investigation.

Illinois DNR Conservation Police conducted an investigation into a group of hunters who were taking several trophy-quality whitetail deer. After a thorough investigation with the assistance of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, five hunters were charged with committing numerous Wildlife Code violations involving 31 whitetail deer. The largest buck, taken in Cook County, was a large non-typical deer scoring 213 5/8 inches and valued at $25,000.

“This is yet another example of the outstanding efforts made by the dedicated officers and staff within the IDNR Conservation Police,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller. “No matter what the season, Conservation Police are out there everyday watching, investigating and arresting those who break the law in an effort to protect the sport for the majority of outdoorsmen and women who choose to follow the law.”

“The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement takes deer poaching very seriously,” said IDNR Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez. “IDNR Conservation Police will do everything within our power to ensure that unlawful hunters are punished and prosecuted in order to protect our natural resources for the legal sportsmen who hunt in our state.”

The 5 individuals involved in the investigation are being charged in Illinois with 42 violations for unlawfully taking deer, some of which were trophy deer worth thousands of dollars. These individuals were charged with the following: (all are Cook County charges unless otherwise noted)

Louis C. Bergsma (age 35 from Galena, IL)
2 counts of unlawfully hunting on private property without permission from the landowner
2 counts of unlawfully hunting whitetail deer with an invalidated archery deer permit
1 count of failure to tag whitetail deer upon recovery
2 counts of unlawful possession of a whitetail deer taken in violation of administrative rule
1 count of unlawfully hunting without a valid non-resident hunting license
1 count of unlawfully hunting whitetail deer without a State Habitat Stamp.
2 counts of falsifying IDNR harvest records (Sangamon Co.)
1 count of failure to report harvest as required (Sangamon Co.)
    
Jonathan P. Bergsma (age 33 from Ada, MI)
2 counts of accessory to unlawfully hunting on private property without permission from the landowner
2 counts of accessory to unlawfully hunting whitetail deer with an invalidated archery deer permit
2 counts of accessory to the unlawful possession of a whitetail deer taken in violation of administrative rule
1 count of unlawfully hunting without a valid non-resident hunting license
1 count of unlawfully hunting whitetail deer without a State Habitat Stamp
1 count of falsifying IDNR harvest records (Sangamon Co.)

Douglas J. Bergsma (age 60 from Rockford, MI)
1 count of unlawfully hunting on private property without permission from the landowner
1 count of unlawfully hunting whitetail deer with an invalidated archery deer permit
1 count of unlawful possession of a whitetail deer taken in violation of administrative rule
1 count of unlawfully hunting whitetail deer without a State Habitat Stamp
1 count of falsifying IDNR harvest records (Sangamon Co.)
1 count of failure to report harvest as required (Sangamon Co.)

Daniel E. Bergsma (age 27 from Ada, MI)
2 counts of unlawfully hunting whitetail deer with an invalidated archery deer permit
2 counts of unlawful possession of a whitetail deer taken in violation of administrative rule
2 counts of falsifying IDNR harvest records (Sangamon Co.)

Tom E. Hedke (age 33 from Caledonia, MI)
1 count of accessory to unlawfully hunting on private property without permission from the landowner
2 counts of accessory to unlawfully hunting whitetail deer with an invalidated archery deer permit
2 counts of accessory to the unlawful possession of a whitetail deer taken in violation of administrative rule
2 count of unlawfully hunting without a valid non-resident hunting license
2 count of unlawfully hunting whitetail deer without a State Habitat Stamp


Additional charges are pending. If anyone has information about illegal activities in the field, they are encouraged to call the IDNR Target Illinois Poacher Hotline at 1-877-2DNRLAW (1-877-236-7529).


 



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