MADISON, W.Va. — A video posted to social media in recent days lit up Facebook, Twitter, and DNR law enforcement.. It didn’t take long for game law citations to be issued against a Boone County man.
The video showed a man firing a shot from a high powered rifle across the highway and killing a buck on the hillside. The shot was came seconds after a pickup truck passed through the suspect’s line of fire.
According to an investigation, the incident occurred in Boone County.
Citations identify the suspect as Emmett Estep of Bloomingrose He was cited for hunting from a motor vehicle, shooting within 25 feet of a motor vehicle, shooting across a public roadway and illegal possession of wildlife. The citations were issued by Natural Resources Police Officer Dakoda Chattin, who didn’t have to burn a lot of boot leather in his investigation.
“I had a lot of people text me the video and send me pictures of him holding the deer. The comments on the Facebook post showed people were pretty upset. It was pretty much a case closed after that,” said Chattin.
Chattin did not identify or charge the man who produced the video and is heard to comment, “Good Shot” as the deer fell down the embankment. Chattin concentrated the case on Estep whom he called, “… a good guy who just made a mistake.”
“He said that’s the biggest buck he’d ever killed, but I’d say that’s the biggest buck anybody has killed, at least the majority of people in West Virginia,” Chattin said.
But he won’t get to keep it. Chattin confiscated the head of the animal and because of the rack size, Estep would face a more substantial penalty if he is convicted.
“It had a 17 and a half inch inside spread and I believe it green scored about 169,” Chattin said
“The way the enhanced penalty works, it’s not on the score, it’s on the inside spread. With an 17 and a half inch inside spread, he’s looking at a $1,500 enhanced penalty on top of regular fines and court costs,” he said.
Estep was cited for the violations and had to surrender the deer, but Chattin said he was not forced to give up his rifle or truck which were part of the investigation.
The video stirred anger among sportsmen and the general public alike.
“I had a lot of people who I’ve never meet before and texts from a lot of numbers I didn’t recognize telling me, ‘Thank-you’ for that very reason. They hunt all their lives and have never seen a deer of that caliber. It’s a fair chase thing, a lot of people don’t think it’s fair, which obviously it’s not.” he said.