A Vermont poacher who took one of the largest whitetail bucks in the state’s history was charged a small fine for his crimes.
The trophy-antlered buck is thought to be the fifth- or sixth-largest buck in the state’s 100 years of record-keeping. James Smith of Stamford shot the deer one day after rifle season ended. His attorney claimed it was an honest mistake.
“This was a mistake that ended up being a criminal violation. He worked a strange, unusual shift, and his weekends were Sunday and Monday. He thought he was still within season when he went out hunting on Monday and the season actually ended … at sundown Sunday. There was nothing malicious, there was nothing nefarious,” he said.
At the time the deer was taken, there were some complaints that it had been removed from the Vermont woods in an illegal way. Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage, however, said her office agreed to a plea deal because she also believed there was no deliberate intent to break the state’s hunting laws.
What do you think? Does that argument hold water? Did Smith get off too easy, or did the punishment fit the crime? Sound off in the comments section below.
Photos: Wide Open Spaces (top), The Barre Montpelier Times Argus (above)