A tip that an individual with a rifle may be trying to kill a deer at night in Brayton Memorial Forest Wildlife Area, near Hopkinton, resulted in one person being charged with illegally taking a white-tailed deer, and a number of individuals being charged with helping him.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Dakota Drish was alerted to the activity and set up surveillance at 8 p.m. on October 31, near the Brayton Memorial Forest Wildlife Area. At 9:18 p.m., he conducted a traffic stop involving two vehicles.
Drish saw multiple flashlights and two-way radios in the vehicles, items often used to coordinate movement and spotlight animals. He found additional evidence that the individuals may have been involved with freshly killed animals, which they confirmed, saying they had been hunting squirrels and were successful. A quick check of licenses found some of the individuals were not properly licensed while others had purchased licenses, but were not carrying the license, as required.
Further investigation uncovered additional violations including two uncased and loaded guns in the trunk of the car, one uncased gun under the backseat of the pickup. It also revealed white tailed deer parts in four plastic bags.
Interviews revealed that Shar Reh, 32, of Waterloo, shot the deer with a 7 MM Magnum rifle, while everyone else shone flashlights on the deer so he could see to shoot. They then all butchered and bagged the deer jointly, before heading for home.
Shar Reh was charged with unlawful taking of a white-tailed deer with a prohibited rifle ($210.25) and hunting by artificial light ($210.25). Drish seized the rifle, lights and antlerless deer. The fines totaled $420.50.
Drish charged Nay Reh, 32, Soe Reh, 30, Law Reh, 28, Soe Reh, 29, Heh Reh, 31, and Lucy Reh, 28, all of Waterloo, with joint criminal conduct in one count of unlawful taking of a white-tailed deer with a prohibited rifle ($237.25) and one count of hunting by artificial light ($237.25). The fines totaled $474.60 each.
Each person involved had their hunting fishing and trapping licenses suspended for one year.