Poacher required to forfeit car, weapon, hunting license, and fined $2,800

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: 

  1. Taking Big Game by Illegal Means
  2. Taking Big Game in Closed Season
  3. Shooting From a Motor Vehicle
  4. Shooting From a Public Highway
  5. 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.”

Categories: Crime, Outdoors, Press Release

5 replies »

  1. Fines, siezures seem to only apply to those in Vermont that have the means to pay. In a world with cashless bails, seems unfair. I’m not for jacking deer, but seems to be a two tiered justice system in Vermont, take away his only mode of transportation is going to help him? How’s that?

  2. Good job catching the poacher but you can shove the forfeiture right in the you know what.

  3. He never actually shot a deer or at a deer? Yet, intent alone is enough to seize assets? A fine and lifetime loss of licence would seem a more rational sentence. Such punitive measure just encourages flight and resistance.

    • “ Wardens watched as the suspect then shot the buck facsimile with a crossbow”

      But still. Forfeiture should be for things awuired through crime which clearly this wasn’t. They took his means to get to work and travel.
      Yet the shoplifters and violent people get a slap on the wrist.