Two Men Sentenced Under Maryland's New Anti-Poaching Law - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Two Men Sentenced Under Maryland's New Anti-Poaching Law

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Andrew Harding and Toby Hughes Andrew Harding and Toby Hughes
Photo of Deer Provided by Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo of Deer Provided by Maryland Department of Natural Resources

VIENNA, Md. - Two men became the first to be sentenced this week under a new Maryland anti-poaching law.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says 21-year-olds Andrew Harding of Vienna and Toby Hughes of Seaford were found guilty Wednesday of charges stemming from hunting violations they were caught committing in Dorchester County in November.

According to DNR police, officers on surveillance near Vienna the night of Nov. 19 saw people in a pickup truck shine lights on a field off Maiden Branch Road. After several passes, the officers heard gunshots and the truck reappeared on the road.

DNR police say the officers stopped the truck and saw a freshly killed 9-point buck, untagged, in the back and a rifle in the passenger compartment. Officers arrested Harding and Hughes and seized the rifle and deer.

The men pleaded not guilty to the charges they faced but were convicted of casting rays with an implement (jacklighting), hunting deer at night, hunting deer from a vehicle, hunting deer during a closed season and having a loaded weapon in a vehicle, according to DNR.

DNR says Harding and Hughes were ordered to pay restitution and were sentenced to a six-month jail sentence, which was suspended, as well as one year of supervised probation. The men also had their hunting license privileges revoked for two years.

Under the state's new anti-poaching law that took effect in June, people who are convicted of deer poaching must pay restitution and complete a certain number of hours of community service. The monetary penalty is based on the measurement of the antlers – in gross inches – as scored on the Boone and Crockett Club system.

A buck with antlers scoring 150 or fewer points requires restitution of $2,000 to $5,000 and 80 hours of community service. A buck with antlers scoring more than 150 points requires restitution of $5,000 to $10,000 and 80 hours of community service. A deer without antlers requires restitution of $300 to $500 and 40 hours of community service.

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