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Deer Poaching Charges Conclude Multi-Year Investigation

A Missouri Conservation agent says David Berry, Jr. of Brookline, Mo., his family and others could have violated the law by killing hundreds of deer.

“It is unknown how many deer the main group of suspects has taken illegally over the past several years,” Lawrence County Conservation Agent Andy Barnes said. “It would be safe to say that several hundred deer were taken illegally.”

On Dec. 13, David Berry Jr. of Brookline, Mo., received a 120-day sentence in Barton County Circuit Court for a felony firearms probation violation. On Dec. 6, he received a one-year jail sentence in Lawrence County Associate Court after pleading guilty to taking wildlife illegally on Oct. 11.

The 120-day sentence Berry Jr. received in Barton County Circuit Court will be served in addition to the one-year sentence he received in Lawrence County.

These convictions were made with information obtained from Operation Game Thief, a hotline sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

But it’s all much bigger than that:  Berry Jr.’s convictions are the tip of a long list of illegal fish and game activity by him and other members of his family.

Most of the deer were trophy bucks, taken for the heads with the bodies left on the ground. The convictions were made with information obtained from Operation Game Thief, a hotline co-sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The case is the culmination of years of investigation. Information gained from these and earlier interviews tied 14 Missouri residents to over 230 charges that occurred in 11 Missouri counties. Three suspects were tied to additional wildlife violations in Kansas, Nebraska and Canada. Two suspects were.More than 300 charges were filed on this group in state, federal and international jurisdictions.

David Berry Sr. and David Berry Jr. had hunting, fishing and trapping privileges revoked for life by the Missouri Conservation Commission. Eric Berry and Kyle Berry had hunting and fishing privileges revoked for 18 years and 8 years respectively. Jerimiah Cline, Republic, who took wildlife illegally and assisted the Berrys, had hunting privileges revoked for five years.

People observing wildlife violations can report them through the Operation Game Thief Hotline, 1-800-392-1111 or call the local conservation agent.

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