West Virginia Natural Resources Police (NPR) officers in Boone county have solved the poaching case of the albino deer, charging three individuals.
Initially, the agency issued a “be on the lookout” for two men in a grey truck who shot the albino deer from their truck on Rt. 17 in Boone County at approximately 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27.
Officers did not release any names of those charged.
On Sept. 27, 2015, Natural Resources Police Officer Dakoda Chattin got a call from Boone County 911 advising that an albino deer had been shot and killed in someone’s yard, according to a news release.
After interviewing witnesses, the only evidence available was that there were multiple suspects involved and they drove a smaller model grey truck, the release stated.
The incident was posted on the Natural Resources Police Facebook page with a request for help from the public. Information provided helped Officer Chattin learn of some names that were possibly the people who committed the crime, according to the release.
After investigation and research into the names provided by the public, Officer Chattin made contact with the three suspects, and they admitted in their statements that they had committed the unlawful act, the release said.
Charges include hunting without a license, hunting during closed season, carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from a public road and illegal firearm for deer hunting, the release added.
“The shooters didn’t get the deer. They were going to get it, but somebody scared them and they drove off,” said Natural Resources Police Officer Dakoda Chattin.
Chapman used the power of social media to start generating leads.
“The Facebook page really helped us get a couple of names and through basic research we’ve had some contact with these guys before,” said Chattin. “I went and talked to them and they admitted fully in their statement they did it.”
The agency didn’t released the names of those cited. Boone County Magistrate Court also didn’t have the names when contacted.
The alleged violations included hunting without a license, hunting out of season, having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from a public road, and using an illegal firearm for deer hunting.
“They were using a .22 mag,” said Chattin. “Even when it’s deer season you can’t use that.”
Chattin said he was fairly confident the case would be solved quickly just because of social media. The online site has become a haven for reporting illegal activity. Officers also have a lot of luck discovering illegal activity on line.
“A lot of times these people like to brag,” Chattin said. “Even though they did it illegally, they like to brag so that was kind of what I was hoping for.”
West Virginia Natural Resources Police thanked the public, Boone County 911 and the West Virginia State Police Intelligence Unit for their help in solving the case.
“We continue to be impressed with how we’ve been able to solve crimes with the public’s help,” Natural Resources Police Col. Jerry Jenkins said. “The response has been beyond what we anticipated when we began using Facebook earlier this year. It’s become a valuable tool for us to gather information about crimes and suspects. It shows how deeply the community of hunting and fishing enthusiasts in West Virginia cares about protecting wildlife and enforcing laws. We encourage anyone who sees anyone violating the state’s wildlife laws to call 911 or their closest DNR district office.”