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August 30, 2012

David Kent sentenced for poaching potential state-record whitetail.

Thursday morning a Topeka man was sentenced for illegally killing an exceptionally large whitetail buck in Osage County in November, 2011. David Kent has been sentenced for poaching this 14 point buck in Osage County last fall. If legally taken, the deer could have been a new state record. Brandon Jones, Osage County attorney, said David Kent agreed to plead guilty to four of eight original charges, including criminal hunting, hunting outside of legal hours, illegal hunting during a closed season and using an illegal caliber while hunting big game.

Jones said Osage County magistrate judge Taylor Wine sentenced Kent to 30 days in jail, which can be served as 15 consecutive weekends and $1,500 in fines. Kent was also ordered to forfeit the deer’s antlers and the gun used in the crime to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

In an unusual move, Wine ordered Kent to pay $8,000 in restitution to the landowner, Tim Nedeau, where the buck was poached.

Kent also had his hunting privilidges revoked for five years and faces a six month jail term if he doesn’t comply with all of his sentencing requirements.

The case has received a lot of attention because the deer Kent poached was probably large enough to top a state-record set for gun-killed whitetail bucks with typical antlers that was set back in 1974. Kent’s poached 14-pointer was scored at 198 7/8 typical inches on the Boone and Crockett measuring system at a Topeka’s Monster Buck Classic in January. Kent claimed to have shot the deer in Nemaha county around Dec. 1, while legally hunting during the state’s firearms deer season.

At the show, a bowhunter produced an earlier trail camera that had the buck in Osage County, about 100 miles south of where Kent said he killed it. Law enforcement officials say Kent admitted to illegally killing the deer when interviewed at the hunting show.

The case also drew attention because Kent was at the scene of one of Kansas’ most notorious poaching-related crimes in 2007.

That’s when Thomas Kent, David Kent’s brother, fired a high-powered rifle bullet from a vehicle and into what he thought was a flock of geese in a Lyon County field. Instead, they were decoys and the shot killed 18-year-old Beau Arndt, who was hiding in the decoys while hunting with friends.

Thomas Kent served more than two years in prison for the killing. David Kent was with his brother when Arndt was killed, but was not charged in that case.

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