Deer and fawns

Six men, including five from the Chippewa Valley, are accused of illegally killing at least 20 deer in Eau Claire County in the fall of 2018.

Tyler, J. Dawson, 22, of Bloomer; Brandon M. Hugdahl, 22 of Fall Creek; Charles J. Ladwig, 19, of Fairchild; Joshua L. Lane, 19, and Casey T. Lewallen, 23, both of Augusta; and Tyler Thurmond, 21, of Arbor Vitae; were each charged Thursday in Eau Claire County Court with misdemeanor counts of illegal shining of deer or bears and hunting deer during closed season.

All but Lewallen were also charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing game during closed season.

All six men are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on Nov. 20.

According to the criminal complaint:

During October and November 2018, state Department of Natural Resources wardens received reports of multiple deer carcasses being found in several different locations and public property in Eau Claire County.

The wardens’ investigation revealed these deer were killed with rifles. The gun hunting season had not yet begun, meaning that these deer carcasses were the result of poaching.

Many of the deer carcasses had not been field dressed, and only small amounts of meat were harvested.

Wardens estimated that at least 20 deer were illegally killed.

Wardens interviewed the suspects between Nov. 12 and Dec. 11 last year. During the interviews, each suspect admitted to illegally hunting deer and each also incriminated the other suspects.

Dawson admitted to illegally shooting at least two deer. Hugdahl assisted by shining a light at the deer.

A photograph recovered from Dawson’s phone shows Dawson and three other males posing with deer that had been illegally killed in October 2018.

Hugdahl admitted to illegally killing at least six deer with the assistance of headlights and a spotlight.

Ladwig admitted to several incidents of shooting deer out of season. He was assisted by Hugdahl and Lane on at least one occasion.

Lane admitted several incidents of illegal hunting from Sept. 1 to Nov. 12 in 2018.

Some of the incidents were with Ladwig and Hugdahl.

Lewallen admitted to illegally killing at least two deer from a truck.

Thurmond admitted to participating in illegal hunting with Ladwig, Hugdahl and Dawson.

Wardens also determined that Thurmond’s hunting privileges were revoked for three years in October 2017 for committing criminal deer hunting violations.

Contact: 715-833-9207, dan.holtz@ecpc.com