December 12, 2017

Genesee County residents sentenced for hunting violations in Oscoda County

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OSCODA COUNTY –– Three family members from Burton were convicted for hunting violations in Oscoda County when Department of Natural Resources conservation officers concluded investigations and brought the charges against the defendants in court.

Joseph Dykes, 33, pleaded guilty to unlawfully using a hunting license, baiting and taking deer without a license over the three-year period. He received a fine of $14,220, of which $12,000 will go toward restitution to the state for the deer that were taken. He also received 45 days in jail or community service and had his hunting license privileges revoked for this and the next five years.

Richard Raymond Dykes, 59, father of Joseph Dykes, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully using a hunting license. He was required to pay $450 in fines and costs, was placed on probation for six months and had his hunting privileges revoked during his probation.

The third hunter, Charles David Dykes, 58, was the uncle of Joseph Dykes. Charles Dykes pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully using a hunting license. He paid $450 in fines and costs, was placed on probation for six months and had his hunting privileges revoked during his probation.

While the investigation was ongoing, DNR conservation officers discovered that Joseph Dykes also poached a mule deer in Montana. The information was turned over to authorities in Montana, where Dykes pleaded guilty after being charged there.

The offenses occurred between 2014 and 2016 in Mentor Township and the investigation was wrapped up earlier this year, according to a press release from the DNR. Search warrants were issued and executed for the three hunters in Genesee and Oscoda counties.

Conservation Officer Casey Pullum said the investigation took approximately a year after he was given information about the possibility of poaching.

“It wasn’t a three-year investigation,” he said. “It was criminal activity that took place and when we got (the information) we went back that far to get the charges. So the information was given to me and I started the investigation. I was able to go back and retrieve information from the last few years, and by the time we got some search warrants in January of last year, we had to analyze some electronics and seasonal search warrants.”

Pullum said by the time the case got to court, it was a very long process due to the number of steps it took to get the information turned into a case and presented to the court system.

The three men were prosecuted in three separate hearings in early November.

“The protection of our natural resources is very important and we’re not going to allow it when we find out about these things happening,” Pullum said. “We’re going to find out (what happened) to the fullest extent and prosecute as heavily as we can.”

First Lt. Brandon Kieft, District 5 supervisor for the DNR Law Enforcement Division, said there is no place in Michigan’s rich hunting traditions for this type of illegal, unethical behavior.

“This case should send a clear message that those who abuse our shared natural resources will be held accountable,” he said.

Kieft commended Pullum, who led the investigation, and other officers for their diligence and professionalism.

“This is an example of outstanding detective work by Conservation Officer Pullum and the rest of our team,” Kieft said. “They painstakingly followed each lead, using their skills and traditional field work to bring these violators to justice.”

Kieft encouraged anyone with information regarding natural resources violations to call or text the Report All Poaching program at 800-292-7800. The RAP line is a way for citizens to report the illegal taking of fish or game, or damage to natural resources. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

An individual offering information leading to a successful conviction may be eligible for a reward through the RAP program. While citizens can remain anonymous, they must provide their names if they wish to be eligible for a reward.

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