TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
Investigation Into Illegal Harvest Of Deer Leads LDWF Enforcement Agents To Solve Killing Of Louisiana Black Bear
story by Adam Einck, LDWF Public Information
Agents investigating wildlife cases rely on accurate information, memory and skill in piecing together a crime scene.
In this case, agents were already investigating the illegal shooting of a Louisiana black bear when they were able to arrest two men for illegally killing five deer. Agents were then able to link the two cases together and arrest the same men for the shooting of the black bear.
On Oct. 14 of 2013, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Corporal Douglas Anderson Jr. received information about five deer that were taken illegally on Grand Lake Rod and Gun Club property in Avoyelles Parish. Anderson Jr. discovered that two men had taken five deer by illegal means during an archery only season on land of which they were not permitted to hunt.
During the investigation, agents were able to determine that Brode Laiche, 23, of Marksville, and Travis Maddox, 32, of Alexandria, were the culprits responsible for illegally taking the five deer.
Maddox and Laiche both admitted to agents that Maddox took a doe and seven-point buck from the Grand Lake Rod and Gun Club on Oct. 7. Laiche admitted to taking a doe and a six-point buck on Oct. 8. Maddox also admitted to taking another doe on Oct. 8.
“We were told that they would sneak onto the property and illegally take deer using illegal methods during a non-modern firearm season,” said Anderson Jr. “After further investigation we found some licensing and tag infractions and that this land was also a part of the department’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) and additional charges were filed.”
Agents cited the men for possession of illegally taken deer, taking deer illegally during an open season, taking deer with illegal methods, hunting on DMAP land without permission and failing to comply with deer tagging requirements on Nov. 12, 2013. Maddox was also cited for hunting without a resident big game hunting license.
“Most of the time that is the end of an investigation and once it goes to court we would consider the case closed,” said Anderson Jr. “However, we were also investigating an illegal black bear shooting in the same vicinity of where these deer infractions occurred so we wanted to look into these two guys some more.”
Agents were notified about the illegal shooting of the black bear on Oct. 8, 2013 and began an investigation. The bear was found in Avoyelles Parish with a bullet hole in its head from a 9 mm projectile.
Agents had no leads for the bear until they arrested Maddox and Laiche for the illegal harvest of deer on Oct. 16.
“We found out during the deer investigation that Maddox had used a 9 mm pistol to shoot a deer in the head,” said Sgt. Gabe Guidry. “We became very suspicious of both Maddox and Laiche because of the evidence we found in the deer investigation.”
Agents were able to check the Grand Lake Rod and Gun Club log in sheet and found that Maddox and Laiche had logged in on Oct. 2 and 3 in 2013. The days they logged into the Grand Lake Rod and Gun Club were the same days the bear was killed, according to the necropsy of the animal.
On Feb. 7, 2014, agents obtained an arrest and search warrant for Maddox for the illegal killing of the black bear. Maddox was arrested and booked into the Avoyelles Parish Jail.
It was at this time that Maddox demanded a lie detector test to clear his name. Maddox failed the lie detector test concerning his activity involving the black bear.
On Feb. 12, 2014, agents obtained an arrest and search warrant for Laiche. Laiche was also booked into the Avoyelles Parish Jail.
“We were able to gather enough evidence that determined that Laiche and Maddox were responsible for the illegal killing of the black bear,” said Guidry. “The deer case gave us a good start and we were able to tie both cases together.”
Agents charged Maddox and Laiche with taking a bear during a closed season. Maddox was also cited for hunting without a resident big game hunting license.
On June 18, 2014, Maddox and Laiche were sentenced by Judge William Bennett in the Avoyelles Parish 12th Judicial District Court for their involvement in the illegal taking of five deer on the Grand Lake Rod and Gun Club property.
Between the time of the arrest and court date, Laiche decided to take the sole blame for the illegal killing of the black bear.
For illegally killing a black bear, Laiche was sentenced to 120 days in the Avoyelles Parish Jail with credit for time served and suspended. He was also placed on two years of probation, which prohibited him from being on any state wildlife management area. He also had to pay $5,000 in restitution to the state for the replacement value of the bear, a $100 fine, $100 for cost of prosecution, $100 to the Indigent Defender Board and $250 court costs.
For illegally taking deer, Maddox was sentenced to 120 days in the Avoyelles Parish Jail, which was suspended. He was also placed on two years of probation, which consists of a $50 per month fee. He also had to pay $2,000 in restitution to the state for the replacement value of the deer, a $500 fine and $250 in court costs.
Laiche was also sentenced for failing to comply with deer harvest record requirements, hunting deer using illegal methods, taking deer on Deer Management Assistance Program lands without permission, taking illegal deer during the open season and possession of illegally taken deer.
For these charges he received a total of 330 days in the Avoyelles Parish Jail which was suspended. He was also ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the state for the replacement value of the deer, a $500 fine, $250 to the Indigent Defender Board, $250 for cost of prosecution and $50 per month while on probation.
Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Gaspard prosecuted the case for the state.
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