Brian Birchmeier, 51, of Shiawassee County’s Owosso Township, was arraigned in Shiawassee County District Court on 125 misdemeanor charges related to poaching deer and turkey in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Division found Birchmeier to be in illegal possession of more than 100 parts of animals, including deer and turkey.
Based on the charges, Birchmeier could face more than $120,000 in reimbursement payments, loss of his hunting privileges and as many as 90 days in jail. Each hunting-related charge carries a penalty of as much as $500 per violation. Each license violation carries a penalty of as much as $250 per violation.
Specifically, Birchmeier has been charged with:
• 115 count of taking or possessing a deer over the legal limit.
• 1 count of taking a deer without a license.
• 7 counts of taking a turkey without a permit.
• 2 counts of illegal baiting.
“This is one of the larger poaching cases we have seen in recent years,” said Lt. Sherry Chandler of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “As the start of firearm deer season approaches, this arrest is an important reminder that game laws are in place to protect the state’s natural resources, including its deer population, so we can safeguard a healthy herd for all Michigan hunters.”
DNR Conservation Officer Daniel Bigger was called to Birchmeier’s home in early October on a tip from the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Department. Officer Bigger found numerous sets of antlers at Birchmeier’s home, as well as illegal bait piles. Officer Bigger subsequently executed a search warrant at Birchmeier’s home, seizing more than 170 antlers, as well as shoulder mounts, crossbows and turkey beards.
Based on a review of licenses purchased by Birchmeier, and an absence of hunting records prior to 1982, the number of deer parts alone that Birchmeier illegally possesses is estimated at well over 100. The investigation and a subsequent interview with the suspect indicated the illegal taking of turkeys as well.
“Hunting and fishing are great traditions in Michigan,” said Lt. Chandler. “The state depends on hunting and fishing regulations to make sure that tradition is protected and enhanced for future generations.”
Apparently, Birchmeier didn't subscribe to the age-old concept about rules, regulations, and fairness. You remember the one that goes something like, it's important to conduct yourself properly at all times. But it's what you do when no one is watching (like a DNR CO) that makes you the true sportsman.