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Poacher sentenced in killing of tame Oklahoma deer

BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: February 18, 2010 at 9:28 am •  Published: February 18, 2010
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A judge Wednesday ordered a poacher to pay $33,000 in restitution for killing "Pretty Boy,” a tame white-tailed breeder buck, in a pen.

Justin Ray McDaniel, 25, of Newalla, also was put on probation for 10 years and must spend 10 days over weekends at a private lockup facility.

McDaniel agreed never to hunt again.

"People like you really shouldn’t be hunters,” Oklahoma County District Judge Jerry Bass said.

McDaniel was sentenced for grand larceny of exotic livestock and making a false statement at a hunter check station. He pleaded guilty in November.

A prosecutor told the judge the deer’s owner and a breeder lost from $493,000 to $1,185,000 in potential breeding income because of the deer’s death. The judge said he was awarding restitution to the deer’s owner for actual damages.

McDaniel told the judge he killed the buck in the pen in November 2008 for the ego boost.

"I did it to sound like a cool guy,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel described for the judge how he climbed over fences at the Oklahoma County deer breeding ranch at 3 in the morning then shot the buck with an arrow and dragged it to his truck. He later reported he shot the deer in the wild in another county.

"I’m sorry,” he told the deer’s owner and breeder. "I know that may not mean a lot to you, but I truly am. I wish I could take it back.”

The deer owner, Mark Kwitowski, and the breeder, Mike Chain, said afterward they were satisfied with the punishment because it will deter others from doing the same thing.

"This is a message,” the owner said.

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