Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Deer Poacher Ordered to Watch 'Bambi' 12 Times

David Berry Jr. has been sentenced to one year in jail for illegally killing hundreds of deer, but his sentence has an interesting twist: he must watch Bambi at least once a month during that year, with the first viewing on December 23. That should give him something to think about when pondering if Santa will find him on Christmas Eve, and if he is on the Naughty or Nice list.

One of the Largest Deer Poaching Cases in Missouri History

Berry Jr. and his family are among a ring of 14 poachers sought by the state for killing hundreds of bucks over a three year period for their heads, totaling over 230 criminal charges in 11 different Missouri counties. "The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste," Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Don Trotter said in court, in violation of Missouri's Conservation laws.

Conservationists believe this is one of the largest deer poaching cases in Missouri history. Berry Jr., his father, David Berry Sr., and his brothers Kyle and Eric Berry, and one other person, Jeremiah Cline, were arrested. In addition to this sentence, the five have paid a total of $51,000 in fines and court costs. Berry Jr. will also have to serve 120 days in a nearby county jail for an illegal firearms probation violation, and had his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges revoked for life by the Missouri Conservation Commission.

Why Stop at Just Bambi Viewing?

But of course the most interesting part of this case is the forced viewing of Bambi. Bambi lost his mother to a deer poacher, while these poachers were shooting male deer, and so there's a different sort of abandonment going on, but hopefully the point won't be lost on Berry. Perhaps in addition to this, the jail should feed him venison for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the year of his stay, and have him make deer fur coats for all of his cell block. We certainly hope the county jail did receive public performance rights to show Bambi for this sentence!

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