Illegal night deer hunting leads to convictions and hefty penalties

Published 5:42 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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RALEIGH – An anonymous tip to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission resulted in the arrests of two individuals who have been found guilty on 15 counts of unlawfully taking deer at night with the use and aid of an artificial light, referred to as spotlighting.

Dylan Scott of New Hanover County and Nicholas Rackley of Duplin County have been ordered to pay $9,030 in replacement costs for illegally killing 15 deer at night in Duplin County.

Scott was also fined $1,500, his hunting license will be revoked for 10 years, and he received five years of supervised probation. Rackley was ordered to pay $750 in fines and his hunting license will be revoked for five years.

“It’s a big penalty we hope sends a strong message,” said Captain Chad Arnold, who heads NCWRC’s Investigative Unit and NC WILDTIP program. “We typically don’t see punishments like this, but we also typically don’t find individuals who kill 15 deer in one night’s illegal escapades.”

On Nov. 28, 2023, NC WILDTIP was contacted about this incident and included a photo of Rackley posing with 15 antlerless white-tailed deer. The tip stated Rackley killed all 15 deer the previous night and forwarded the photo to multiple individuals.

NCWRC officers obtained a search warrant, and during the investigation, Rackley admitted he and Scott shot 15 deer in Duplin County on the night of Nov. 27, 2023. They took the carcasses to a home in Pender County to have the deer processed. At the Pender location, officers found four coolers full of deer meat. The resident admitted to processing the deer for Rackley.

Search warrants were then issued for Scott, and his truck and phone were taken for evidence.

In the past six months alone, NCWRC has received 598 tips through NC WILDTIP and rewarded a total of $3,478. Anyone with information on illegal hunting can anonymously submit information through a secured online reporting tool located on the agency’s website. Information may also be submitted by texting keyword WILDTIP and the tip information to TIP411 (847411) or through a mobile app.

To report a poaching violation in progress, call Wildlife Law Enforcement dispatch at 800-662-7137.

Tips that lead to arrests and convictions may lead to a reward of $100 to $1,000.