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Michigan Poacher Fined $6,000 for Shooting Buck with .22

Travis Smola

Man shot buck with .22 not knowing if weapon was legal or not. 

A Jackson County Michigan man is out $6,000 after pleading guilty to poaching a buck with a .22 back in November.

Michael Viane of Liberty Township is one of the first to be hit with stiffer fines thanks to a new law that hands down harsher punishments for poaching trophy bucks. Viane was fined $500 per point on the 8-point buck. He was fined a further $1,000 for killing the buck and another $1,000 because it was an antlered deer Mlive reports. He will also lose hunting privileges for the next five years.

Viane shot the buck November 16, the second day of Michigan’s firearm season last year. While he did have a license for deer, a .22 is not a legal firearm for whitetails in Michigan. He claimed to have just returned from hunting rabbits when the buck showed up in the backyard of the private property he was hunting.

He claims he shot the buck in the temple with the .22 because he didn’t think he’d be able to retrieve a legal weapon in time.

“I can’t see how a deer is worth $6,000,” Viane said.

While he was not happy with the large fine, MLive reported that Viane confessed he did shoot anyway even though he was uncertain on the weapon’s legality at the time the buck stepped out. “It’s kind of hard to say you didn’t shoot it when you did,” Viane said.

Viane was caught when conservation officer Christopher Maher received an anonymous tip and investigated. Even though Viane has protested he’s not a poacher because other aspects of the hunt were legal, Maher noted that in this instance, it doesn’t matter because the .22 is not a legal firearm for deer.

“You can’t do it. It is against the law,” Maher said.

Hopefully the case can serve as an example to other would-be poachers about the new stiff consequences of Michigan’s new anti-poaching laws. In another bit of good news, the buck didn’t go to waste. It was confiscated in the investigation and donated as food for the needy.



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Michigan Poacher Fined $6,000 for Shooting Buck with .22