DECATUR, Mich. — A suspect has been charged after nine bucks were poached in a Decatur barn last month.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 33-year-old Justin Ernst has been charged for more than a dozen violations and faces a maximum penalty of $59,500 in reimbursement fines if convicted.
We’re told Ernst was previously convicted in 2018 for stealing a whitetail deer.
“It’s a shame that this criminal ruined the chance for ethical, legal hunters to have their opportunity to take one of these trophy deer,” says Lt. Gerald Thayer. “Not only did this felon steal from the natural resource, he also damaged agriculture crops, and has been doing so for some time. The financial penalty is the minimum he should serve.”
In total, Ernst is charged with nine counts of illegal acquisition of game, two counts of felony firearms possession, two felony firearms violations, one count for hunting with a redacted hunter’s license, and one count for applying for a license while unqualified, according to the DNR.