tennessee man poaches threatens landowner
Facebook, TWRA

Tennessee Man Poached Deer From the Road, Then Pointed Gun at Landowner

And that was just the beginning. William Franklin Stamey Jr. has been charged with poaching 15 deer, most of them shot from the road.

There are right ways to hunt on private land, and there are wrong ways. And a Tennessee man recently demonstrated what may be the worst way to hunt, or should we say poach, private land.

William Franklin Stamey Jr., 22, of Whitesburg, Tennessee, has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, spotlighting deer, hunting from a motor vehicle, and second and third offense of hunting big game in a closed season.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), on August 16, 2023, when deer hunting season was closed, at approximately 11:30 p.m., Stamey and an accomplice were road hunting. They used a spotlight to kill a doe and a seven-point buck from a motor vehicle.

A landowner confronted the two poachers, and Stamey pointed a gun at him and threatened to kill him.

The two were later stopped by a Hawkins County Sheriff's deputy, who found them in possession of a spotlight and hunting rifles. Both Stamey and the driver were taken into custody, and a third driver was charged as an accessory.

The investigation into Stamey and his accomplices' actions revealed further poaching activity. In September, Wildlife Officer Justin Pinkston found a buck carcass in Stamey's backyard when he was attempting to serve Stamey a criminal summons. Stamey had apparently checked the deer in as an archery harvest in August. The only problem was, he didn't have an archery license.

A search warrant four days later at Stamey's residence found eleven more sets of deer antlers. Stamey admitted to poaching all eleven deer and also admitted to shooting a bearded hen turkey in 2022, which he did not check in, as required by law.

As if all of this wasn't enough, Stamey also had a previous poaching conviction from May 2021. He'd entered a plea agreement for spotlighting, hunting from a public roadway, and hunting deer during the closed season in November 2020, nearly the exact situation he was caught in August 2023. Once a poacher, always a poacher?

The justice system seems to think so.

According to TWRA's Facebook, "Over a three-and-a-half-year period, Stamey was charged with killing or assisting in killing 15 deer illegally and admitted to poaching 20 deer from the road in 2020 alone. Sadly, most of these deer were left lying and were never recovered."

Stamey will serve six months of a four-year sentence for the aggravated assault charge, and six months for each of the hunting big game in closed seasons charges, with all jail time running concurrently. He'll also pay numerous fines, as well as $12,500 in restitution. He has forfeited a spotlight, a muzzleloader, a rifle, and a compound bow, as well as deer meat, turkey parts, and 14 deer racks. He has been banned from hunting for life.

READ MORE: The Worst Poaching Cases of 2023