After months of dealing with a baiting and illegal lawsuit, Joe Franz and the Franz buck have finally been cleared, and state lawmakers have noticed.
When Joe Franz nailed Palmer, or what would become known as the Franz buck, in October 2014, the avid hunter had no idea what would come next. As the praise and sense of accomplishment settled, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources dropped a shocking illegal baiting lawsuit on top of his trophy.
Spokesperson for the Iowa DNR, Kevin Baskins, told reporters that the DNR “had enough evidence to charge Franz…of killing the deer illegally, or hunting over bait.” Finally, however, Joe Franz was cleared of the terrible accusations.
Franz held fast to his belief that the mineral licks on the land he had just purchased in August 2014, months before landing the Franz buck, were from the previous owner. He even testified that he’d called the Iowa DNR before the hunt and the video of the harvest was made.
After a drawn-out trial, in which Joe Franz’s trophy mount of Palmer, his bow, and his rifle were seized, he was finally able to get his items back. The Iowa state legislature, also, has voiced concern over the way not only the DNR behaved, but also the vague laws that the DNR used against Franz.
“Republican state Senator Mark Children hopes to pass bills through legislation to put an end to what he believes are vague baiting laws.” The Iowa DNR admitted it was not only ready to change, but that it would welcome any further law changes the state deemed necessary.
When asked if he would ever hunt again, however, Joe Franz told WHO that he has “no plans to go hunting anytime soon, it actually feels like part of my soul has been ripped out.”
Congratulations to Joe for sticking through this tough time to prove his innocence, and we hope that soon, he can begin to move on from this terrible circumstance.