Poacher of Giant Vermont Buck Gets a Slap on the Wrist

Poacher of Giant Vermont Buck Gets a Slap on the Wrist


A Vermont poacher who took one of the largest whitetail bucks in the state’s history was charged a small fine for his crimes.

The trophy-antlered buck is thought to be the fifth- or sixth-largest buck in the state’s 100 years of record-keeping. James Smith of Stamford shot the deer one day after rifle season ended. His attorney claimed it was an honest mistake.

bilde“This was a mistake that ended up being a criminal violation. He worked a strange, unusual shift, and his weekends were Sunday and Monday. He thought he was still within season when he went out hunting on Monday and the season actually ended … at sundown Sunday. There was nothing malicious, there was nothing nefarious,” he said.

At the time the deer was taken, there were some complaints that it had been removed from the Vermont woods in an illegal way. Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage, however, said her office agreed to a plea deal because she also believed there was no deliberate intent to break the state’s hunting laws.


What do you think? Does that argument hold water? Did Smith get off too easy, or did the punishment fit the crime? Sound off in the comments section below.

Photos: Wide Open Spaces (top), The Barre Montpelier Times Argus (above)


  1. I do not believe he did not know what day it was, a small fine is not enough. Would say 5 yrs no hunting but he seems to not follow the hunting rules now.

  2. I find it hard to believe that he didn’t know what day it was. If you know it’s getting close to the end of the season, you know when the last day of hunting season is. I don’t care what hours you work. I say it’s bs. He should be fined.

  3. I’m not saying it’s right in any way, but I’ve made the same mistake. I’ve lost track of the days. I’ve never actually hunted out of season, but it could of very easily happened. Some times the excitement of an upcoming hunt makes you forget everything else. People do make mistakes, and sometimes they’re stupid ones. He got fined and he paid the price of his mistake. Leave it alone!

  4. In all the years I’ve hunted, which is every year since I was 16, I always knew when the last day of deer season was. During all those years I worked a lot of overtime during deer season yet I always made damn sure I know my beginning days and end days. The punishment should have been a big fine and loss of his hunting privileges for 5 years. Ignorance is no excuse.

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