A Missouri man will have to watch the movie Bambi at least once per month during his prison sentence as part of his punishment for poaching, the Springfield News-Leader is reporting.
David Berry Jr. is serving a one-year sentence for poaching and related crimes out of Lawrence County, as well as a 120-day sentence for poaching and similar crimes out of Barton County. Every 30 days during his incarceration, beginning on or before December 23, 2018, Berry must watch the 1942 Disney animated classic Bambi, about a young deer orphaned when a hunter shoots his mother.
That means he’ll be seeing the movie 15 times in the next 15 months unless he’s granted an early release.
Berry Jr. and two associates – his father, Berry Sr., and family member Kyle Berry – had for years carried out a poaching operation that Missouri officials say is one of the worst they’ve ever investigated. The trio’s crimes also extended into Kansas, Nebraska, and even Canada.
The three men were all arrested in August 2016 after an 8.5-month investigation by authorities in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Canada. Authorities say that, for years prior, the three had illegally poached wildlife – mostly deer, but also fish and other animals.
Lawrence County Conservation Agent Andy Barnes says, via the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) website, that for years the men had taken deer illegally, possibly hundreds of them.
David Berry Jr. was ordered to watch the Disney classic at least once a month during his year-long jail sentence in what conservation agents are calling one of the largest deer poaching cases in state history. https://t.co/tA5szvXb7I— WTHR.com (@WTHRcom) December 17, 2018
Conservation officials say the men’s interest in the animals was only trophy hunting: In almost all cases, Berry and his associates took only the deers’ heads and/or antlers. In most cases he didn’t even harvest the meat, instead leaving their carcasses in the field to rot.
“The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste.”
Randy Doman, MDC Protection Division Chief, says that the Berrys’ actions were about their own egos and not about fair play or the animals’ well-being.
“In situations like this, with serial poachers who have no regard for the animals, rules of fair chase, or aren’t bothered by the fact that they’re stealing from others, it’s all about greed and ego.”
In addition to the various prison sentences and estimated $51,000 in fines and court costs that the trio have paid, all have had their Missouri hunting privileges revoked; Berry Sr.’s for life, Berry Jr.’s for 18 years, and Kyle Berry for eight years.
As for Bambi, the 1942 Disney film has been assailed by hunters as anti-hunting propaganda, and according to Chowhound, turned off many Americans to hunting and to game meat.