poaching operation
The Blade

Massive Poaching Operation Lands Ohio Man a 4-Year Prison Sentence

Four years prison time and some fines doesn't seem to be enough in the public's eyes, but he won't be disrespecting the sport for quite sometime.

Poaching has always been around, unfortunately, but with social media and how quickly "news" spreads, poaching seems to be more prevalent than ever.

Poaching is never good in any situation. You often hear people say if someone has to take a doe to feed the family when times are tough, so be it, but when you hear a story like this one, it's frustrating.

Robert Freeworth, 37, of Grand Rapids, Ohio, has been sentenced to four years in prison by Wood County Common Pleas Judge Reeve Kelsey for leading a large poaching operation that included illegally shooting deer out of season, shooting deer at night, improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, the illegal sale of venison, tampering with records, and additional wildlife violations.

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Seeing the substantial number of good whitetail deer in the photos is almost sickening.

Freeworth pleaded guilty and was slammed with over $5,500 worth of fines for the whitetails he had poached.  He was also forced to forfeit the 51 items, consisting of two rifles, a muzzleloader, a sport utility vehicle, numerous trophy deer mounts, deer parts, and venison that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confiscated earlier in the year.

Click here for more detailed info on the case from The Blade.

On top of the prison time, fines and forfeiting over the 51 items, Freeworth will lose his hunting privileges for 18 years, commencing upon the release of his jail time. 18 years is a long time, but the public reaction on social media, of course, is that this is insufficient.

They see the crimes as a disgrace and believe he should be more heavily fined and lose privileges for life.

Surprisingly, this was not one of the largest cases in the state's history. But the prison sentence was rather large compared to those in the past. Primarily because of the substantial felonies that involved firearms within the trial.

Game rules are put in place for a reason, so it is good to see someone who crosses the line this much get what they deserved. And deserved it was. Over the course of the investigation, officials were able to find at least one instance of the breaking of almost every poaching law you could think of.

Complaints of illegal activity from local sportsmen and land owners sparked the investigation. By the end of the research, charges were filed to over 40 people from 10 different counties in Ohio. ODNR said it was very clear this was a large group of people that were involved in the circuit of illegally taking deer and then selling the venison.

Multiple complaints led to Mr. Freeworth who was the "ringleader" of sorts.

Thankfully, his days in this business are over.

Did you enjoy this post? CLICK HERE to view more articles by Colton Bailey. You can also follow him on Facebook CB Outdoors and Hunting and Fishing Memes, and Instagram Ultimate Outdoors.

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