David Berry Jr. has been sentenced to one year in jail with repeated viewings of Walt Disney's Bambi after illegally killing hundreds of deer. A Missouri judge ordered Berry Jr. to watch the 1942 classic movie once a month, starting on December 23rd. In addition to the one year in jail, the man received an additional 120 days for felony firearms violation of his probation last week, which means that he earned himself another 4 viewings of Bambi.
David Berry Sr, David Berry Jr., and Kyle Berry were all arrested and charged for what authorities are calling "one of Missouri's largest cases of deer poaching." The trio would illegally hunt the deer, cut their heads off, and leave the carcasses behind. No concrete numbers are available, but authorities say that the three men were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of deer over the course of the last few years. The men were under investigation by state, federal and Canadian law enforcement agencies, and conservation officers involving suspects in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Canada over the course of a few years.
There were a total of 14 hunters that were swept up in the investigation, but David Berry Jr. is the only one who has to watch Bambi once a month for the next 16 months behind bars. Additionally, Berry Jr. and David Berry Sr. have had their hunting privileges revoked for life. All of the men were found after anonymous tips were called in to the Operation Game Thief, which is a hotline sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. The tips led to a multi-year investigation.
Randy Doman, MDC Protection Division Chief says that the "serial poachers" have no "regard for the animals, rules of fair chase, or aren't bothered by the fact that they're stealing from others." Doman went on to say that it's all about "greed and ego" for the men that were caught in the lengthy investigation. The chief went on to talk about leaving the carcasses behind. He explains.
"Taking just the heads is their version of obtaining a trophy and leaving the carcass behind is merely an afterthought. While there are some cases where poachers go after the antlers for profit, with this bunch it was more about the thrill of the kill itself."
The other men involved in the illegal slaughtering of hundreds of deer were offered different punishments with most of them getting their hunting privileges revoked for up to eighteen years along with some pretty hefty fines. It isn't clear at this time why David Berry Jr. is getting the additional jail time and the Bambi sentence, but it is more than likely a result from violating his probation with a felony firearm possession. If Berry Jr. stays in for his full sentence of 16 months, he should be able to recite all of the lines from the Disney classic. This news was first reported by Springfield's News Leader.