MORRIS – Grundy County State's Attorney Jason Helland and Assistant State's Attorney Kyle Klukas were honored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently for their successful prosecution of poaching several deer in Grundy County.
Included in their prosecutions was the poaching of a 36-point nontypical whitetail buck estimated to be worth $35,000. Less than 20 prosecutors were honored statewide, according to a news release from Helland's office.
IDNR Director Marc Miller and IDNR Chief of Law Enforcement Rafael Gutierrez presented awards to officers and community members who assisted law enforcement during 2013.
Sgt. Mark Simon, Officer Matt Anderson and Officer David Wollgast also were presented with awards of merit for their efforts during the Diamond tornado including spotting the tornado and calling it into the dispatch center, possibly saving lives. Simon is the CPO supervisor in Kankakee, Will, Grundy and Kendall counties.
"These officers have demonstrated their commitment to protecting public safety and upholding Illinois conservation laws. It is an honor to work with these dedicated officers and receive this award," Helland said in the release.
Helland and Klukas were nominated by Officer Wollgast, who noted in the nomination that three subjects with a total of 12 charges were convicted and $1,765 in fines and $17,000 in restitution to the IDNR were collected. One offender had his hunting privileges suspended for five years, the maximum penalty under Illinois law.
The 36-point nontypical trophy is expected to be displayed at the Grundy County Courthouse soon.
"I believe that displaying this deer will help the state's attorney's office raise community awareness that conservation offenses can be very serious offenses," Helland said.
"Since the deer was born, raised and poached in Grundy County, we really wanted to keep the deer in the county so it will serve as a constant reminder to conservation violators that we will eventually catch you if you commit offenses," Anderson said.
Officer Anderson noted these were significant cases. At the time of the offense, the 36-point nontypical whitetail buck's antlers were the sixth largest recorded in the world that were taken by archery methods.
"A hunter that is hunting solely for unlawful commercial purposes is always a concern of law enforcement," Anderson said in the release.