Conservation officer’s follow-up prompts multi-state investigation
A joint law enforcement investigation by officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has resulted in charges against two Tennessee men in both states and uncovered suspected violations in others.
A shooting from the road complaint received by Kentucky Conservation Officer Trevor Lowe in April and his subsequent follow-up about the vehicle witnesses believed was involved produced evidence of alleged poaching activity by Sid Herring, 51, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Stefan Brownlie, 38, of Portland, Tennessee.
Herring faces multiple charges in Kentucky, including two counts each of illegal take or pursuit of deer or wild turkey and bag limits on wildlife, and one count each of taking wildlife from a vehicle and discharge of a firearm or other device from or across a public road. He is also charged with violations of entry on land to shoot, hunt, fish or trap without consent, third-degree criminal trespassing and two counts of regulations necessary to implement KRS 150 purpose.
In Kentucky, Brownlie faces two counts of illegal take or pursuit of deer or wild turkey and one count of taking wildlife from a vehicle.
The men are scheduled to be arraigned June 24 in Simpson County District Court.
Following up on the April 23 complaint, Lowe found a wild turkey that had been shot and killed by road hunters that day. He recalled a complaint from weeks earlier about a man asking for permission to hunt in Simpson County who was driving a blue truck that matched the vehicle witnesses described in the April 23 complaint.
Lowe contacted Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Officer Eric Anderson about the incident because the location – approximately 7 miles southeast of Franklin, Kentucky - is close to the Tennessee border. Brownlie was cited weeks earlier in Tennessee for a similar offense and his vehicle matched the one witnesses described in the April 23 incident.
Officers interviewed Brownlie on April 27 at his home. He told them that he was driving the vehicle and slowed down so Herring could shoot at the turkey from the passenger-side window into a field that they did not have permission to hunt.
Brownlie’s mobile phone was seized, and officers obtained a search warrant. Stored on the phone were photographs of Herring and Brownlie posing with turkey carcasses and an antlered deer.
Investigators learned that Herring killed a 6-point buck in Kentucky, did not report the harvest to Kentucky’s telecheck system, and took the carcass to Tennessee without removing the brain and spinal column as required by state law. Additionally, the investigation found that Herring reported to Kentucky’s telecheck system a 10-point buck killed in Tennessee.
Investigators also obtained evidence of Herring and Brownlie trespassing on a property next to Brownlie’s residence, photographs of 13 turkeys killed in two other states and electronic communications between the men about the killing of the turkeys.
A search warrant for Herring’s residence was executed May 6. Brownlie told investigators in an earlier interview that Herring shot the turkey with a .410 single-shot shotgun. The 6-point buck and .410 shotgun were found at Herring’s residence.
Kentucky’s conservation officers are sworn law enforcement officers with statewide jurisdiction and have a primary mission focus on hunting, fishing and boating laws.
Conservation officers work to ensure compliance with hunting and fishing laws and ensure that the state’s waterways are a safe place for all to enjoy by utilizing a two-pronged approach consisting of education and enforcement.
Fish, wildlife or boating violations can be reported to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife by calling 1-800-25-ALERT. In an emergency, or when there is an urgent need for law enforcement, calling 9-1-1 remains the best course of action.
Anonymous tips also can be made by texting “KFWLAW” along with a message to 847411 (tip411) or through the KFWLaw app.
(provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife)