Three Roxboro, N.C. residents are facing serious charges for a laundry list of wildlife violations from night-hunting to killing and possessing wild game out of season. If convicted, they are likely to have their hunting licenses revoked and are expected to fork out more than $30,000 in fines and restitution.
Christopher Ray Tuck, 26, Samuel Allen Roach III, 21, and Samuel Allen Roach Jr., 40, have been collectively charged with 36 wildlife violations that occurred between May and October 2017.
Leading the investigation was Master Officer Tim Godwin with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Enforcement Division.
“It’s the largest case I have dealt with in my 11-year career at the Commission,” Godwin said. “It may not be the biggest case in North Carolina history, but it is the biggest case District 5 has ever seen.”
Godwin, along with Master Officer Mike Edminsten and Sergeant Justin Mathis, started investigating after learning of the possible infractions. They finally caught a break when the Person County Sheriff’s department got a call in the wee hours of the morning.
“The Person County Sheriff’s Department got called about shots fired in the early morning hours and found a rifle in Chris Tuck’s vehicle. According to the responding officer, Tuck claimed he had shot at a coyote,” Godwin said. “But, I found a dead deer the next day at the scene with its head cut off.”
Godwin secured a warrant for Tuck’s Roxboro residence that uncovered evidence allegedly connecting Samuel Allen Roach III, and later Roach’s father, Samuel Allen Roach Jr., to a long list of criminal acts.
“We seized 20 sets of antlers between Roach and Tuck’s residences. Some were in the freezer; some were already boiled out and hanging on the wall as skull mounts. The biggest of them all was a deer shot at the end of July that scored in the upper 150s,” Godwin said.
The warrants produced evidence from cell phones, computers and animals linking the three. In addition to the illegal deer-hunting charges, Tuck illegally possessed osprey talons and allegedly killed five turkeys illegally this past spring.
The 36 charges filed fell under the following categories:
• Unlawful take of deer between ½-hour after sunset to ½-hour before sunrise with the aid of an artificial light (multiple counts);
• Illegally possessing and transporting a wild animal taken illegally (multiple counts);
• Hunting without a license (multiple counts);
• Hunting without a big game license (multiple counts);
• Exceeding game limit (multiple counts);
• Failure to report/tag game (multiple counts);
• Hunting turkeys out of season (one count);
• Hunting deer out of season (multiple counts);
• Unlawful possession of migratory birds (including osprey) (one count)
All charges by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are considered criminal misdemeanors. However, the Person County Sherriff’s Department is charging Tuck with felonious possession of a firearm by a felon.
If convicted on all the wildlife violations, the three will encounter loss of hunting privileges for at least two years, with the potential for up to five years, plus fines and steep replacement costs.
In North Carolina, replacement costs are monetized by species. Deer are $602 per animal and turkeys are $1,600 per bird. Total fines and replacement costs for the 36 violations are expected to run in excess of $30,000.
The three charged are due in court on Jan. 23, 2018, at the Person County Courthouse in Courtroom 1.