A Pleasant Shade resident is finding out just how serious the penalties are for not obeying hunting laws in Macon County.
Theodore Allen Kemp, 34, was arrested on April 3rd by the Macon County Sheriff Department and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency—for hunting deer in December.
TWRA Game Warden James Dooley did not catch Kemp in the act, but he was able to undertake an investigation through other means, leading to the arrest. “I gathered information from statements of eyewitnesses and DNA evidence that I collected,” said Dooley. “[I] developed probable cause and got warrants.”
Hunting season runs from the end of September to the beginning of January, and there are different weapons that can be used in that time. Also, hunting can only take place between a half hour before sunup and a half hour after sunset. This is why Kemp’s was charged with hunting out of season: he’s being accused of hunting in the right time of year, but the wrong time of day. “When I alleged that he shot the deer, based upon information that I’ve gathered, it was after that legal hour,” said Dooley.
Dooley says that the majority of his cases come out of eyewitness accounts—citizens who are willing to report illegal hunting activity.
“If I had to rely on what I saw to bring charges—I mean I’m just one person, and 300 square miles of private property that violations occured on,” said Dooley. “Without the public being involved, it’d be really hard to catch them. I really have to work in conjunction with private citizens giving me information, and follow leads. I’ve always been very appreciative of the support here in Macon County.”
According to the charges, the defendant shot a doe from a motor vehicle with the aid of an artificial light and during a closed season. The doe was subsequently loaded into a motor vehicle, and not checked in by the end of the calendar day at a TWRA check station or internet site.
At the time of his arrest, Mr. Kemp was already in custody in Trousdale County on other charges. Kemp was placed on hold and transported to Macon County General Sessions court. He was charged with spotlighting a deer, hunting big game during closed season, wildlife: illegal take/possession, and hunting from a motorized vehicle. Kemp pled not guilty in General Sessions, and the case was postponed till July.
So what kind of penalties are incurred, if an individual is convicted of these charges? “These penalties are Class B Misdemeanors,” explained Dooley, “and the range of monetary fine can be from 0 to $500 plus court costs. Last I heard, court cost in General Sessions is $249.50 per charge. Plus there’s always the possibility of losing privileges and losing equipment.”