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Sheriff: Chase uncovers poaching operation

Squad car struck during deputies' pursuit

TOWN OF HARRISON, Wis. - Sheriff: Chase uncovers poaching operation

Grant County sheriff's deputies uncovered a deer poaching operation after the investigation of a poaching complaint resulted in a chase.

Deputies were called to the 6500 block of Stumptown Road in Platteville Monday night for a poaching complaint and got a description of the poacher and his vehicle. Deputies located the vehicle a short time later and chased it south on Stumptown Road, reaching speeds of 95 mph. The chase was called off, but the vehicle was found a short time later in a ditch on Stumptown Road.

Deputies said that as they approached, the driver freed the vehicle from the ditch and turned toward their squad cars and started to drive toward them. The vehicle went into a ditch in an attempt to get around the squad cars and crashed into the front driver's side of a squad car. The deputy in the squad car was not injured.

There was another short pursuit that was eventually called off.

An investigation led deputies to 2752 Baker Ford Rd. in the town of Harrison where they found the vehicle hidden on the property. The driver was identified as 29-year-old Aaron Gregory, according to deputies.

Deputies said they discovered a large number of deer carcasses on the property and learned there were more deer carcasses inside the house. Fourteen deer carcasses were found, and investigators said they had been poached.

Deer hunting is a part of life in Wisconsin, but one Grant County man is accused of violating Department of Natural Resources rules.

"This is kind of one of the things Wisconsin is known for around the country, (being) a premiere hunting state," Richard DeWitte, Grant County DNR warden, said.

Five of the remaining deer were seized by the Department of Natural Resources along with two guns.

"Hunting deer at night, shooting outside the season is a misdemeanor violation, which invokes a $2,000 fine as well as a misdemeanor. There are also other natural resource charges and a DNR charge for that is a $200 fine," DeWitte said.

DeWitte said in his 30 years with the DNR he's seen poaching but it is rare.

"The natural resources, specifically deer or ducks in Wisconsin, belong to everyone," DeWitte said. "Ninety-nine percent of the people we talk to are doing it law abiding and enjoying their outings and doing it exactly the way they are supposed to without any input or management from us; doing the right thing at the right time."

Gregory was arrested on suspicion of eluding, hit-and-run of an occupied vehicle, speeding and multiple DNR violations. He also faces having his hunting privileges revoked for up to three years.

The Platteville Police Department assisted Grant County with the crash report.

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