Seven Western Maine men – all relatives – have been served with 42 summons charging wide-ranging violations of the state’s hunting laws.

Night hunting, killing multiple deer, poaching wild turkey during a closed season and possession of stolen furs are among crimes the men face.

The Maine Warden Service issued the summonses Friday after more than a yearlong investigation, said Deborah Turcotte, interim spokeswoman for the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Credit calls from people for instigating the probe, Turcotte said.

“It was the public,” she said, who notified wardens of concerns about illegal activities. Wrongfully taking game “hurts everybody,” she said.

Charged are:

• Kyle A. Morgan, 20, of 142 Hill St., Paris, issued 21 misdemeanor summonses for alleged activity between Oct. 11 and Nov. 25, 2007. He’s charged with six counts of night hunting; four counts of night hunting that resulted in the killing of deer; two counts of night hunting that resulted in the wounding of deer; two counts of hunting deer after having killed one; three counts of hunting turkey during closed season; one count of exceeding the limit in the killing of deer; one count of theft and the possession of stolen fur; one count of theft and the possession of stolen traps; and one count of theft of traps.

If found guilty the court could impose a sentence of at least three days in jail for the first offense and not less than 10 days for succeeding offenses, and a fine of $1,000 or more for each violation, Turcotte said. Morgan would automatically lose his hunting license if he’s found guilty.

• Thomas L. Walker, 55, Walkers Mill Road, Bethel; two counts of possession of deer killed at night; two counts of hunting deer after having killed one; one count of possession of deer taken during closed season; and one count of exceeding the limit in the killing of deer. All are misdemeanors. Also, he was issued summonses of one count of baiting deer, one count of theft and possession of stolen traps; and one count disturbing traps of another person, also misdemeanors. If found guilty he is subject to up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Walker is Kyle Morgan’s uncle.

• Jonathan Morgan, 48, of 8 Hayes Road, Norway: one count of possession of antlerless deer, and one count of possession of an unregistered deer, both misdemeanors.

He is Kyle Morgan’s father.

• Matthew Cole, 24, of 487 Cushman Road, Bryant Pond: three counts of exceeding the limit in the killing of deer, one count of night hunting, and one count of possession of an unregistered deer, all misdemeanors.

Cole is Kyle Morgan’s cousin.

• James Campbell, 20, of 21 Churchill Road, Woodstock; one count of trapping without a license; one count of receiving stolen traps; and one count of baiting deer, all misdemeanors.

Campbell is Kyle Morgan’s cousin.

• Matthew Walker, 23, Walkers Mill Road, Bethel; one count of possession of a deer killed at night, and one count of false registration of a deer, both misdemeanors.

• Raymond Walker, 64, 104 Alpine St., Norway; one count of false registration of a deer, a misdemeanor.

Turcotte said the Walkers are also related, but wasn’t certain how.

Court appearances for all of the men are tentatively set for April.

The Maine Warden Service’s Wildlife Crimes Investigation Division initiated the special investigation early in 2007 after it received multiple complaints from people, hunters and law enforcement officers about alleged poaching activities they witnessed regarding one of the men, Turcotte said.

In January, after months of investigation, the division served four search warrants on five of the men’s residences, and Oxford County Assistant District Attorney Joe O’Connor was consulted on evidence collected during the investigation.

“What these men did through their actions is insult the law-abiding hunters of this state who respect the regulations that are in place to manage Maine’s wildlife population,” said acting Col. Gregg Sanborn in announcing the issuance of the summonses. “We appreciate the public’s input in helping us stop this activity.”


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