• Record deer case ends in $400 fine
     | May 17,2014

    These antlers are from a huge buck shot in Stamford a year ago — one day after deer season ended, according to officials.

    STAMFORD — The case against a man who had been accused of taking one of the largest trophy-antlered whitetail bucks harvested in Vermont in more than 20 years was resolved this week when the man agreed to plead guilty and pay a fine of $400.

    James Smith of Stamford was cited under a Vermont Fish and Wildlife ticket in February 2013 for taking a deer out of season.

    The buck would have been the fifth- or sixth-ranking Vermont buck taken since the Boone and Crockett Club scoring system began almost 100 years ago based on its score of 165 and 2/8 gross.

    However, Smith can’t take credit for it because he killed the buck Nov. 26, 2013, the day after the rifle season ended.

    William D. Wright, the attorney who represented Smith, said his client had not deliberately taken a deer out of season.

    “This was a mistake that ended up being a criminal violation. He worked a strange, unusual shift, and his weekends were Sunday and Monday. He thought he was still within season when he went out hunting on Monday and the season actually ended … at sundown Sunday. There was nothing malicious, there was nothing nefarious,” he said.

    At the time the deer was taken, there were some complaints that it had been removed from the Vermont woods in an illegal way. Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage, however, said her office agreed to a plea deal because she also believed there was no deliberate intent to break the state’s hunting laws.

    Marthage pointed out that Smith had no record of breaking hunting laws.

    Game wardens investigating the case said Smith admitted early on to taking the deer.

    He will be charged about an additional $100 in surcharges.

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