MONTPELIER, Vt. – After a night investigation and years-long court process a Vermont poacher was mandated this week to forfeit his vehicle and weapon in addition to prior fines and loss of hunting privileges, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
Shane Phillips, 43, of Johnson, was initially cited for “deer jacking”—illegally shooting a deer at night. The citation followed an after-dark field operation by game wardens in October 2020 at multiple locations in the town of Johnson.
During the field operation game wardens witnessed an occupant of a black Buick Regal use an artificial light to illuminate two “deer facsimiles”—lifelike model deer placed by game wardens to draw out poachers after the close of legal shooting hours or outside of the legal hunting season. Wardens watched as the suspect then shot the buck facsimile with a crossbow.
Although the suspect fled the scene when confronted, investigation led law enforcement to Phillips. Law enforcement seized Phillips’ vehicle and subsequently executed a search warrant, locating the crossbow inside and determining that it had been fired.
Philips was cited into court in 2020 and, in August 2023, sentenced for five charges related to the 2020 deer jacking:
- Taking Big Game by Illegal Means
- Taking Big Game in Closed Season
- Shooting From a Motor Vehicle
- Shooting From a Public Highway
- Possessing a Cocked Crossbow in a Motor Vehicle
Phillips must pay $2,877 in fines and will lose his privileges to hunt, fish, and trap for three years. In addition, on October 2, 2023, the Lamoille County Superior Court mandated that Phillips forfeit the 2011 Buick Regal and Bear Saga crossbow that he used while deer jacking to the state.
“Prosecuting law violators takes time,” said Game Warden Lt. Carl Wedin. “Catching a deer jacker in the act is one thing, seeing justice served is an entirely different operation. Vermont hunters can be gratified to see this poacher forfeit his vehicle and weapon, in addition to his fine and loss of his hunting privileges for the next three years.”