A Missouri poacher responsible for the illegal killing of “several hundred deer” over a three-year period has been ordered to watch Walt Disney’s 1942 classic Bambi once a month from jail, the Springfield News-Leader reports.
29-year-old David Berry Jr. is one of three men convicted in what Missouri’s Conservation Department said is among its “largest conservation cases involving the illegal taking of deer.”
Berry Jr. was sentenced to a year in jail plus an additional 120 days in a nearby county for violating his felony firearms probation.
Court records reveal Berry Jr. is “to view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter, during Defendants incarceration in the Lawrence County Jail.”
Disney’s animated classic, centered around a young deer and his forest friends, famously sees Bambi’s mother shot and killed by a hunter.
The multi-year poaching case involved trophy bucks who were “taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste,” said Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Don Trotter.
The eight-and-a-half month investigation also saw arrest warrants issued for David Berry Sr. and Kyle Berry and convictions were made with information from the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s Operation Game Thief hotline.
“It is unknown how many deer the main group of suspects has taken illegally over the past several years,” said Lawrence County Conservation Agent Andy Barnes. “It would be safe to say that several hundred deer were taken illegally.”
In addition to Berry Jr’s required Bambi viewings, the poacher has also had his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges revoked for life.
“In situations like this, with serial poachers who have no regard for the animals, rules of fair chase, or aren’t bothered by the fact that they’re stealing from others, it’s all about greed and ego,” said Randy Doman, MDC Protection Division Chief.
“Taking just the heads is their version of obtaining a ‘trophy’ and leaving the carcass behind is merely an afterthought. While there are some cases where poachers go after the antlers for profit, with this bunch it was more about the thrill of the kill itself.”