An intense criminal investigation found the West Lafayette, Indiana man poached turkeys in the state and up to six others.
Hanson Pusey, 25, received the first lifetime hunting ban in Indiana state history last week at the end of a poaching investigation by wildlife officials in several states.
On November 10, Pusey pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges of hunting without landowner’s consent, illegally capturing wild turkey, and failing to record capture of wild turkey in Warren County District Court.
Along with his lifetime hunting ban in Indiana, Pusey also received a one-year prison sentence (with all but 4 days of probation) and orders to serve house arrest and 361 days of probation. He must also pay a $1,000 pet replacement fee to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). according to the Indianapolis Star.
The DNR detailed its investigation into Pusey in a Nov. 14 news release. During its multi-year operation, the department worked with fish and wildlife law enforcement officers in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Fewer convictions in these states also resulted. The DNR said he will pay $4,125 in fines and costs and serve an 8-year hunting license suspension in Pennsylvania; $324 in fines and costs and an indefinite suspension in Connecticut; $700 in fines and costs and suspension of license during a probationary period in Massachusetts; $2,335 in Georgia fines and costs; $278 in North Carolina fines and costs; and $525 in Tennessee fines and costs.
Pusey’s convictions were based on a documented pattern of hunting violations he had committed over at least several years, the DNR found.
Evidence in the poacher’s house
In the spring of 2020, DNR investigators received a tip that Pusey was hunting illegally despite serving an active suspension he received in March 2019. Court records show that Pusey even committed hunting violations back in 2018, including criminal trespassing, illegally taking a wild animal, failure to possess a waterfowl stamp, and taking a migratory bird past the seasonal limit.
The DNR’s investigation eventually led to officers searching Pusey’s home in 2020. Inside they found several shotgun shells (spent cartridge cases) from previous turkey hunts. Pusey had marked each carcass with the date and condition in which he had used it to kill a turkey, the DNR found.
Evidence included 83 carcasses from 2012, 14 of which were dated within 3 months of his first hunting ban in 2019.
According to various other allegations, Pusey continued to commit violations despite the investigation. Court records also show that he faced further charges of illegally taking a wild animal in October 2019 and March 2021. Finally, in February 2022, Pusey was charged with illegal hunting and stealing a wildlife camera memory card in Warren County.
With the investigation complete, wildlife officials hope Pusey’s historically severe penalties will leave a lasting impression on his behavior.
“We hope that the measures taken by the court outside of the suspension, including house arrest and public awareness raising, will prevent this from happening again and he will not be activated and will help people hold him accountable,” said DNR detective Trent Stinson, per star.
The attorney representing Pusey replied to GearJunkie without comment.