An illegal hunter, who has been charged with multiple violations by wildlife officers in two states in the past, has been arrested after shooting at a trophy white-tailed buck in west Knox County.
Christopher Caughron, 23, of Maryville, was taken into custody early Monday evening by TWRA Sgt. Joe Durnin who was in the right place at the right time to watch him shooting at a trophy buck just off of Pellissippi Parkway in west Knox County.
Sgt. Durnin noticed a large buck while traveling along Pellissippi Parkway this afternoon and like most wildlife enthusiasts, pulled over to take a closer look. After exiting the parkway and onto Hunter Valley Ln., a shot from a high-powered rifle was fired in his direction as he was driving by. Realizing that the shot was not intended for him but rather the deer, Officer Durnin was able to photograph the suspect’s vehicle. The vehicle then left the area prompting Sgt. Durnin to believe that the suspects had seen him. He then proceeded onto Northshore Drive and met the suspects who were heading back to the area where the deer had been standing. A chase then ensued and the suspects eventually surrendered near the Weigels on Northshore and Ebeneezer Drive.
After the suspects were apprehended, it turns out that Caughron, whose hunting privileges are currently revoked out of Illinois for convictions of wildlife violations, is also facing charges in Blount County for his involvement with illegal bear baiting in September. In that case, a 400-pound black bear was killed in a baited area at night before the season’s opening. If convicted for the illegal bear baiting, Caughron could lose his hunting privileges in Tennessee for 10 years.
TWRA Officer Ken Cutsinger and his K9 partner Keena searched the area, but fortunately could not locate any sign that the deer had been hit by the shot.
Caughron has been charged with felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, hunting on revoked privileges, hunting from a motor vehicle, and hunting from a public road.
The passenger has not been charged at this time.
The TWRA is appreciative of the Knox County Sheriff’s Department who assisted at the scene.