Austin VanBritson, age 21, and Garrett Hoss, age 19, both of Evansville, were charged with poaching white-tailed deer during the 2018 hunting season in the Vanderburgh County Superior Court.
VanBritson was entered into an informal deferral program through the Vanderburgh County Superior Court on April 26, 2019. VanBritson received a two-year revocation of hunting privileges, was ordered to attend a Hunter Education Course, received 24 hours of community service, and forfeited the rifle used to take the deer. In addition to court-ordered fines and penalties, each were ordered to pay a $500 replacement fee to the DNR for the illegally taken deer.
Indiana Conservation Officers received an anonymous tip on Oct. 31, 2018 that a white-tailed deer had been illegally taken in Vanderburgh County the previous day near the Thunderbolt Pass Golf Course in Evansville.
Indiana Conservation Officers Keith Wildeman and Matt Porter responded to conduct surveillance of the area. After several hours, VanBritson and Hoss arrived to retrieve the illegally taken deer, and the officers apprehended the suspects in the act.
Investigation determined that VanBritson shot an eight-point buck using a .270 caliber rifle on the previous day after legal hunting hours. VanBritson told the officers he shot the deer as it was standing in a bean field on the north side of Petersburg Road across from the golf course. VanBritson said he located the deer in the evening, then waited for a break in traffic before he stood up through the sunroof of his vehicle and shot across the roadway with his high-powered rifle.
VanBritson and Hoss returned the next morning and located the wounded buck. VanBritson then shot and killed it with a bow and arrow. The men then left the scene, intending to return after dark to retrieve the deer.
Both faced multiple charges, including the illegal taking of a white-tailed deer, shooting across a public roadway, shooting from a motorized conveyance, use of artificial light to take white-tailed deer, hunting without landowner consent, hunting without a valid license, and hunting with a firearm in a closed season.
In a separate and unrelated incident in January 2018, VanBritson and Hoss were charged with hunting without landowner consent and illegal possession of a white-tailed deer in Posey County.
To report hunting or fishing violations please call 1-800-TIP-IDNR or the DNR Law Enforcement Central Dispatch (24 hours a day) at 812-837-9536.