Repeat Wildlife Offender Sentenced In Knox And Blount Courts

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Maryville man who has been convicted of illegal hunting in multiple states has pled guilty to a felony and several misdemeanor charges associated with illegal bear and deer hunting in Blount and Knox counties.

Chris Caughron, 23, of Maryville pled guilty in Blount County Circuit Court on Friday to various violations related to killing a 400-pound black bear at night and during the closed season last September.  Caughron was also convicted in Knox County Circuit Court last month of felony reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and hunting from a public roadway for shooting at a trophy-buck deer from Pellissippi parkway in December.  

TWRA said the circumstances surrounding the Blount County incident indicate that Caughron and his accomplices illegally baited and killed a black bear on Chilhowee Mountain after turning hunting dogs loose near barrels baited with chocolate candy.  Caughron evaded law enforcement officers and assisted in illegally dumping a black bear carcass. 

The incident on Pellissippi Parkway in Knox County occurred as TWRA Sgt. Joe Durnin spotted a trophy buck just off the parkway and pulled off a side road to take a closer look.  Caughron, who was traveling along the parkway at the time, pulled off the side of the roadway and fired a shot at the deer, which was also in the direction of Sgt. Durnin. Caughron left the area and was later arrested after being apprehended on Northshore Drive.

At the time of the incidents, Caughron was hunting without a license after having his hunting privileges revoked out of Illinois for illegal hunting and was prohibited from hunting in Tennessee because of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.  This compact means that if a person has had their hunting privileges revoked in a member state, then their privileges are revoked in all participating states.

In Knox County Circuit Court, Caughron lost his hunting and fishing privileges for five years and received two years of probation for the felony reckless endangerment and hunting from a public roadway charges.

Blount County Circuit Court Judge Tammy M. Harrington found Caughron guilty of criminal littering, use of bait to hunt black bear, killing bear in closed season, and refusing inspection.   He received six months judicial diversion for each of the littering and wildlife convictions and 30 days judicial diversion for refusing inspection.  He was assessed $375 in fines plus four court costs and received 40 hours of community service.  Judge Harrington ordered that Caughorn’s hunting and fishing privileges be suspended for two years which brings his total revoked privileges to seven years when combined with the Knox County revocations. 

Blount County Wildlife Officer Jeff Pearce said, "This was a collaborative effort between Tennessee and Illinois Wildlife Officers to catch and punish one of the worst of the worst offenders.  Caughron and other poachers are thieves of the wildlife and fisheries resources of the citizens of Tennessee and will be prosecuted as such. Without fear or favor, wildlife officers will continue to apprehend and prosecute these criminals."   


Trail Repair Work Beginning On Red Trail In Chickamauga Battlefield

The National Park Service is advising the beginning of repair work on a 1.09 mile section of the Red Trail located in the northwest corner of the Chickamauga Battlefield. This section is part of the equestrian trail that intersects the yellow trail. The park is utilizing an agreement with the Southeast Conservation Corp to have a student work crew repair the trail ... (click for more)

Legendary Angler Bill Dance To Help Feed Homeless Donated Venison At Chattanooga Community Kitchen

Legendary angler and Tennessee native, Bill Dance, is joining a program called Hunt.Fish.Feed, that feeds those less fortunate across the country venison donated by local sportsmen and women.    Mr. Dance will be at the Community Kitchen from  11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. on   Friday, July 8,  to help serve guests.  Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (6)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

I can never remember a day in July when my garden, my lawn, my dogwood tree, and my ferns are all wilting for lack of rain. Right now we are more than eight inches under our average rainfall for the first six months and, on this wonderful weekend, those who love firecrackers are urged to keep a pail of water in case a spark could cause a fire. On the other hand, every July 4 th ... (click for more)