Missouri Poacher Sentenced To Watch Bambi

David Berry Jr. is serving an unusual sentence for the illegal killing of deer.

Simone Gibson | January 4, 2019

On Dec. 6, David Berry Jr., of Brookline, Missouri, was told by a judge that he’ll be forced to watch Walt Disney’s Bambi movie from his jail cell once a month for the next year. Berry pled guilty to taking wildlife illegally and is just one of a number of others recently charged with wildlife violations that have already led to more than $50,000 in fines and court costs. However, it seems that Berry is the only poacher in this string that will be forced to watch Bambi a dozen times.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, this case is one of the state’s largest conservation cases involving the illegal taking of deer.

Berry was sentenced to watch Walt Disney’s “Bambi,” which shows a depiction of a fawn learning how to live on his own after his mother is killed.

“It is unknown how many deer the main group of suspects has taken illegally over the past several years,” Lawrence County Conservation Agent Andy Barnes said. “It would be safe to say that several hundred deer were taken illegally.”

Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Don Trotter agreed.

“Conservation investigators estimated that the group was responsible for killing hundreds of deer over a three-year period,” Trotter said. “The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste.”

Berry was involved in a string of arrests with 13 other Missouri residents that led to more than 300 charges in state, federal and international jurisdictions.

The Missouri Department of Conservation reports, “Most of the Missouri violations were related to the illegal taking of deer. Most of the deer were trophy-class animals. In many instances, only the heads and antlers were removed.”

Berry has been in trouble before for illegally taking gamefish by hand and spotlighting deer. The court system could have concluded that a new approach, or punishment, might help Berry learn his lesson.

When Berry gets out of jail—and likely has much of Bambi memorized—he’ll then begin serving a 120-day sentence that he received in Missouri’s Barton County Circuit Court on Dec. 13 for a felony firearms probation violation. No word on if there are any Disney classics he’ll be viewing during that shorter sentence.

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  1. hallroyal on January 14, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    does the punishment fit the crime? I think watching a movie is not going to change this person’s criminal activity. It sounds like he is going to jail for a year, but what is the value of hundreds of deer and thousands of pounds of high quality protein? I hope that this is just a minor portion of a much larger punishment including jail time, fines, loss of rights, etc.

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