Clements Man Charged with 43 Counts for Illegal Deer Hunting

ST MARY'S COUNTY, Md. (Jan. 8, 2008)—On Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged John Gabriel Middleton, 29, of Clements with 36 counts of natural resources violations and 9 criminal charges. These charges are the result of a yearlong investigation by NRP on the illegal taking of white-tailed deer.

The investigation started in Jan. of 2007 when NRP received a report of untagged deer heads allegedly belonging to Middleton. NRP located and seized two untagged antlered deer heads from a residence in Clements. The investigation continued with NRP inspecting Wathen’s Taxidermy located in Hollywood. During the inspection, NRP says they uncovered numerous violations involving Middleton’s deer kills and his alleged use of another person’s hunting licenses to check those deer into the Maryland State Big Game Harvest Registration Record System.

On Monday, Sept. 3, NRP investigated a report of Middleton allegedly shooting an antlered deer at night on private property off of New Market Turner Road near Mechanicsville. NRP collected evidence at the scene.

With the information gathered from this incident, NRP executed a search and seizure warrant on Middleton’s residence on Sunday, Sept. 16. NRP seized as evidence one .300 Winchester Magnum caliber rifle, ammunition, a hand held spotlight, photographs of antlered white-tailed deer kills and six deer mounts.

Middleton was charged with the following violations:

13 counts of failing to field tag deer
5 counts of exceeding the deer bag limits
5 counts of harvest reporting required for deer
4 counts of using a rifle/handgun in a shotgun only county
3 counts of using another person hunting license.
1 count of failing to obtain bonus antler deer stamp
1 count of hunting from a vehicle
2 counts of hunting deer during the closed season
1 count of hunting deer at night.
1 count of casting rays of light with an implement
3 counts of Public Records - False entry
1 count of reckless endangerment
2 counts of trespassing on posted property
1 count of Off-Road vehicle on property
1 count of trespass on cultivated land
1 count of malicious destruction of property

A court date of March 21 has been scheduled for Middleton in St. Mary’s County District Court.

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