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Baltimore County Hunter Fined after Shooting Robo-Deer Decoy

Boat Explosion, Tree-Stand Falls among Maryland Natural Resources Police Responses

Photo of robotic deer decoy in woodsA Sparrows Point man who thought he bagged a buck in North Point State Park paid hundreds of dollars in fines instead after he shot a Maryland Natural Resources Police robo-deer decoy.

On the evening of Oct. 7, Thomas Ervin Minton, 45, was spotted by officers patrolling a field where the robotic decoy had been placed. He fired a crossbow at the faux deer and sped away when officers tried to stop him.

As officers searched the area, Minton approached one of them and asked what the fine would be for illegally shooting a deer. He then turned himself in and led officers back to his home, where the car matching the description of the one used by the shooter was parked.

Minton received citations for having a loaded crossbow in a vehicle, hunting at night, shooting wildlife from a vehicle, and for using a light for hunting or jacklighting. He also received six written warnings, including attempting to elude a uniformed officer. He pleaded guilty in Baltimore County District Court Oct. 12 to three charges and paid $1,500 in fines. The charge of using a light to hunt remains active on the docket.

His crossbow, scope and arrow were confiscated. The robo-deer was unharmed.

An Essex man was flown to Peninsula Regional Medical Center Wednesday evening for treatment of injuries sustained when he fell 20-feet from a homemade tree stand on leased land in Worcester County.

Joseph Patrick Hughes, 63, was checking his stand in Chesapeake Forest Lands at about 7 p.m., when one of the wooden steps pulled away from the tree and he fell. He was not wearing a safety harness.

Members of the hunting club heard his cries for help and helped him back to the camping area and drove him to the Stockton Fire Department, where he was assisted by Snow Hill first responders. A Maryland State Police helicopter flew him to the hospital due to possible back and neck injuries.

Last Saturday afternoon, a Frederick County hunter injured his back when a strap on his tree stand broke and he fell 20 feet to the ground. He was not wearing a safety harness.

Zachary David Kline, 22, of Thurmont, said he and a hunting partner were putting gear in their hang-on stand in Woodsboro, when the accident happened. A family member and his hunting partner helped him from the woods to Frederick Memorial Hospital, where he was treated.

In 2016, Maryland recorded 18 hunting accidents, nine of which involved tree stand falls. A department tree stand safety checklist can be found online.

Two Cecil County anglers escaped serious injury Sunday evening on the Elk River after their 28-foot boat exploded and burned to the waterline.

Robert Bernard Keenan Jr., 49, of North East, and James David Beazley, 39, Elkton, were near Turkey Point at the mouth of the river, when the boat owned by Keenan developed engine trouble. When the boaters attempted to restart the engine, the compartment exploded and burst into flames, fed by more than 100 gallons of gasoline in the tank.

The men tried unsuccessfully to put out the flames, jumped overboard and swam to shore at Rogues Harbor. Cecil County first responders and Natural Resources Police officers responded to the scene.

Both men were taken to Union Hospital. Beazley was treated and released and Keenan was admitted for treatment. The boat, valued at $45,000, was a total loss.

An Essex man is scheduled to appear in Queen Anne’s County District Court Dec. 7 on charges he illegally caught several fish from the Chesapeake Bay.

An officer conducting surveillance at the Kent Narrows boat slips earlier this month stopped a vessel with four men aboard who said they had not caught any fish. While talking to the men, the officer noticed a man in the cabin taking fish from a bucket and hiding them.

Kenny Alexander Bono, 26, received citations for keeping six undersized striped bass and one undersized spotted sea trout. If found guilty, he could be fined as much as $2,000.