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Five Charged In Garrett County Deer Poaching Investigation

August 11th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Five Garrett County men were arrested after officers uncovered deer poaching activities that began in 2016 and continued into this year.

Acting on tips from the public and social media posts, Maryland Natural Resources Police officers were able to connect a string of illegal hunting incidents. Last month, officers served search warrants on homes in Garrett County before filing the following charges:

Tyler Michael DeWitt, 21, of Swanton, was cited for 30 violations that could lead to a total maximum fine of $45,500 and revocation of his hunting privileges for up to five years. He is accused of hunting during a closed season, possessing of deer in a closed season, hunting deer at night, hunting deer with a spotlight, shooting from a vehicle, hunting without written permission, removing the head or hide of a deer before check-in, failing to report a turkey kill, and obstructing or hindering a police investigation.

Dakota Lee Hinebaugh, 29, of Oakland, was cited for 24 violations that could lead to fines totaling $39,500 and revocation of his hunting privileges for up to five years. He is accused of hunting without a license, hunting during a closed season, possessing of deer in a closed season, hunting deer at night, hunting deer with a spotlight, hunting without written permission and removing the head or hide of a deer before check-in.

Michael Allen DeWitt, 42, of Oakland, was charged with obstructing and hindering a police investigation and littering after his son, Tyler, warned him in April to throw away packages of deer meat and antlers kept at the senior DeWitt’s home. He could be fined $1,500 and be sentenced to serve 30 days in jail.

Donald Lee Hinebaugh Jr., 41, of Oakland, received citations for failing to report two deer kills and aiding and abetting hunting without a license. He faces a fine of up to $1,500.

Phillip Lyle DeWitt, 58, of Mount Lake Park, received citations for failing to report a kill and failing to record the kill on his Big Game Harvest Record. He could be fined a maximum of $3,000.

In connection with the investigation, Maryland State Police charged Lukas Isaac Holler, 18, of Oakland, and James Wesley Lewis, 19, of Accident, each with possession of a rifle or shotgun after conviction of a disqualifying crime and illegal possession of ammunition. The weapons charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 fine, and the ammunition charge carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

The investigation revealed that DeWitt and Hinebaugh engaged in night hunting on several occasions from roads in southern Garrett County. The other men were implicated in the activities. In April, officers searched an area near Graham Road and found about a dozen deer carcasses dumped over the embankment. Some of the heads of the carcasses had the skull plate/antlers removed while antlered deer with small racks were intact, a common practice among “trophy” hunters.

Trial dates in Garrett District Court are pending.

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