HARRISBURG – Following a lengthy undercover investigation into the illegal commercialization of wildlife, William Kielty III, 60, of Evans City, Butler County, was charged with 28 violations of the Game and Wildlife Code for allegedly possessing unlawfully taken deer and illegally selling game. If convicted of all charges, which were filed with Magisterial District Judge Wayne Seibel of Evans City on Feb. 21, Kietly faces penalties of up to $22,700, and the possible loss of his hunting and trapping privileges for up to 65 years.
The investigation began in the fall of 2006, when Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Randy Pilarcik, who serves the southern district in Butler County, received numerous complaints from the public that Kielty was allegedly accepting illegally harvested and untagged deer and then selling the meat.
“Kielty had been operating his deer processing business in the garage behind his house for years,” said WCO Pilarcik, who was joined by Deputy WCO Scott Klopfer in conducting the investigation. “About a decade ago, Keilty pled guilty to having illegal and untagged deer.”
Pilarcik said that the investigation found evidence that Kielty was taking deer that were taken illegally, as well as picking up and failing to report road-killed deer. In addition to being charged with selling the meat from unlawfully possessed deer, Kielty is accused of stealing and selling meat from legal deer he was processing for hunters who took deer lawfully.
Kielty, who was enrolled as a participating processor in the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program, also is accused of keeping some of the venison from hunter-donated deer for himself or to sell, and would then forward the remainder to local food banks and soup kitchens.
“This man stands accused of stealing from hard-working hunters – both their venison and their money – and sadly, people in need,” WCO Pilarcik said.
A breakdown of the 28 charges are as follows:
– 8 counts of unlawfully taking or possessing game or wildlife. On five separate occasions, Kielty is accused of accepting for processing a total of eight deer that were unlawfully taken or not properly tagged;
– 19 counts of illegally buying and selling game. On seven separate occasions, Kielty is accused of illegally selling venison or offering to sell processed deer burger, packaged chops, roasts, steaks and jerky; and
– One count of unlawful acts concerning licenses. Kielty is accused of illegally using the tag of another individual.
WCO Pilarcik noted that Pennsylvanians may claim road-killed deer and process the meat for their personal use. To do so, they must call the Game Commission region office representing the county where the collision occurred and an agency dispatcher will collect the information needed to provide a free permit number, which the caller should record. A resident must call within 24 hours of taking possession of the deer. Antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions must be turned over to the Game Commission.
Facts from the Pennsylvania Game Commission: House Bill 2205, sponsored by House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Edward Staback, proposes to increase fines and penalties for a variety of wildlife violations.