Pa. Man Charged in Chasing Deer with ATV; Crops Damaged in the Process

September 2, 2005

In an act called by one Pennsylvania Game Commission official as “something no one with a conscience could endorse,” a McSherrystown resident pled guilty to charges for using an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to chase a deer to the point of exhaustion and then
killing it. Adams County Wildlife Conservation Officer Darren David filed the charges.

On Aug. 31, Marshall C. Mixell, 30, pled guilty to unlawful taking and
possession of a white-tailed deer before District Judge Daniel Bowman, Bonneauville, and was fined $800. In addition, Mixell is subject to loss of hunting privileges for at least one year.

WCO David was notified by the county dispatch center when an alert citizen reported that a dead deer was being transported on an ATV that was traveling through a farmer’s crop fields. The defendant, Mixell, was located with the deer at his friend’s home in Conewago Township. He reportedly claimed the deer was found after it injured itself crossing a fence and that he killed and removed it as an act of mercy and out of courtesy to the local farmer. However, according to David, the details provided to support Mixell’s story of how he got the deer “weren’t adding up.”

Backtracking on tire marks left by an ATV from the acquaintance’s home to a neighboring farm, David was able to determine that Mixell first encountered the deer in open fields and gave chase with his vehicle. By the time the deer had tried to escape over a nearby fence, it was apparently too exhausted to leap the fence that, according to David, was “only about two feet high.”

Mixell then went back to the friend’s house to retrieve a knife, returned
and approached the deer to reportedly stab it to death before taking it to the house.

WCO David said that recent high temperatures were probably a contributing factor to the deer’s death.

“Most know how hard winter is on wildlife, but heat-induced stress can be just as deadly,” David said. “With the hot and humid weather we’ve been experiencing in Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t take much to chase a deer with a vehicle to the point where it could no longer negotiate minor obstacles.”

As estimated damages to crops was less than $100, those farmers impacted by the incident told WCO David that they did not wish to pursue additional charges as long as the defendant was charged for the deer.

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