Earlier this month, Christopher J. Courville, 39, of DeRidder, pled guilty to charges resulting from arrowing a big 18-point buck during illegal hours on the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in January.
According to a USFWS press release, an investigation revealed that Courville, along with Austin J. LeBlue, 19, and Brandon P. Fontentot, 19, both of Longvillle, entered Tensas River NWR on Jan. 26 and used artificial light to locate the big buck.
Courville shot and killed the deer with a bow from a public road, the release states.
On Aug. 5, Federal Magistrate Jude Karen Hayes accepted guilty pleas from all three men after a plea agreement was reached with the Assistant U.S. Attorney, according to the release.
Courville pled guilty to taking an animal on a national wildlife refuge without authorization during illegal hours and hunting within 150-feet of a public road.
In an article that ran on LouisianaSportsman.com on Jan. 27, Courville told a completely different story to reporter Glynn Harris when he detailed the hunt.
“I had just hauled my bow up when the buck stopped 25 yards from me. I drew on him but realized the clip holding the haul line was still clipped to my bow and I couldn’t pull it all the way back,” he said. “I had to release, unclip the line and draw again. The buck stopped broadside 20 yards away and I released my arrow.
“He ran 25 yards and collapsed. I mean, I was in the stand hardly 5 minutes when this all happened. I didn’t even have time to get cold.”
Courville’s penalty included fines totaling $770, the forfeiture of the deer and seized archery equipment, supervised probation and the loss of hunting privileges worldwide for one year, according to the release.
Fontenot and LeBlue were fined $335 for trespassing on a national wildlife refuge, the release states.