My case and trial
My experience with deer started in 1968
when I first went deer hunting. I had never
seen a deer in Iowa and did not know what one looked
like except from pictures. I went deer hunting for
a couple of years but never saw a deer. At one
time in the 20th century it has been estimated that Iowa
only had 350 deer statewide, and as late as the 1980s
you could only shoot male deer, with horns when hunting.
In 1980 I bought 18 acres with the idea
of setting up a choose and cut X-mas tree farm. I
planted all my windbreaks around the place and never
lost a tree to deer, usually only saw one or two a year.
In 1985 I started planting X-mas trees and had no
trouble with deer at first, but starting about 1990 I
started noting many buck rubs and eating in the
fall/winter destroying my X-mas trees.
I had the DNR depredation biologist at that
time, named Jim Jansen come out and he stated I had to
$1000.00 of damage in one year before I could do anything about the
damage under the deer depredation program (should have
had this video taped). He valued my trees at .50 cents each as that is
all I paid for them. No allowance was given for
the many years/money of raising the tree. I planted
about 1000 trees a year so I would have to have 2000
trees destroyed before I could "qualify" for the
depredation program, which was simply shooting female deer
during deer hunting season. I have never know one single
person who said the depredation program stopped the deer
damage on their property I would have been out of
business if I would have followed their program. I and
others went deer hunting a couple of years but had no
effect on the deer damage as most occurred at night.
As I do know something about the Iowa
constitution on the right to protect property, I
immediately started shooting the deer year around, to protect my
property as state hunting rules have never worked to
damage. I have shot ("euthanized" for PETA
people) over 1000 deer to protect my property the last 25
years, and my trees
have done fine with just a few each year being
destroyed. I have not "hunted" any animals for over
20 years but have allowed other persons free of charge to
go hunting, fishing and trapping on my property. When
you figure all the fees/licenses, the state of Iowa has
made over $10,000 off of my property in the last 25
How much has the Iowa DNR/state government made from the destruction of
a tree farmer I saw the damage done year around to my
trees but then the DNR started threatening me for
shooting deer to protect my property.
When you threaten a Marine you are going to have to back
it up. I decided only one way to settle this was to get them into court
to see if the Iowa Supreme court ruling #30221 was still
valid. I started calling
them when I shot a deer and even took pictures of dead
deer, to the
head of the DNR at that time Mr. Jeff Vonk.
not shy about protecting my property, and the DNR along with Cedar
County assistant attorney, Jeff Renender finally decided to do something
about the situation and charge me, as many other persons were also
following my actions and protecting their property.
is one of the deer I
removed in early June 2005 as it was eating my trees. I
notified the DNR to come out and get there deer if they
wanted it. They looked at it but never did remove this deer or
charge me for this one
called the Iowa DNR in June 2006 to report I shot a
deer that was eating my trees. I even helped Mr. Shawn Meier
of the DNR to load the deer in his truck as shown above. I heard
nothing until Sep 2006 when Mr. Meier came out (below) and
charged me with shooting the deer. Too late to
take pictures of my damage the deer did in June, darn!
Shooting a deer in Iowa is a simple misdemeanor.
My trial was to use the "protection of property" and the
"Justification" defense, this was granted by a district
court judge. In other words you can shoot deer at all
times to protect your property. I was the first person who was able
to use this defense for over 50 years for deer damage.
My trial started on March 19th, 2007 to a packed
courtroom, with camera coverage from start to finish.
Depredation biologist Greg Harris when on the stand was
asked how he determines damage to trees from Deer,
stated "We go by whatever the landowner says their trees are worth" a complete change
from what he previously stated to me that I needed
$1000. damage determined by him, to qualify. To this date
there is still nothing written on how any deer damage to
private property is valued.
here to see how I now value my trees and plants
damaged from deer.
state of Iowa paid $4000 dollars to a Mr. Grant Woods
from Missouri, a wildlife biologist, to say that it was
"very unlikely" that deer eat trees, but eat soybeans.
Good news for any soybean growers! If deer do not
eat trees, why not just bring in one of the DNRs 10 District
foresters to say that and
save the money. They knew better than that!
on the stand for a time to explain my operation, the
damage the deer do to it. There are certain rules
you must know and follow to use the constitutional right to
protect property, I did not know all the details at that
time, of what
it takes to prove the necessity defense and after 3
days, was found guilty on March 22, 2007.
week after my trial the Administrative rules, without
any legislative impute, changed the deer shooting rules suddenly to include being able to
shoot deer year around, to protect property. The Iowa DNR
has never allowed shooting year around, under hunting
rules. After about 2 weeks an appeal on
several issues was planned, but if you ever have Ms Bobbi Alpers
for your judge in a simple misdemeanor trial and she says
after your trial that
you have 20 days to appeal your verdict, that is not true. It
is 10 days.
fined $1500 for "replacement of deer". I was not
disappointed by the verdict as I proved what I wanted,
that everyone has the right to kill deer at any time to
property, and the state of Iowa/DNR showed me in
court what I had to prove to "protect property" under
the Iowa constitution, and now I use it every day, and
share it with you. I now prevent over $200,000.00 in deer damage
each year to my
property and millions for other property owners in Iowa,
thanks to my case and the Iowa constitution.
have a complete transcript/video of my trial so there
will be no mistakes on what was said during it.
many other Iowans are
ready, willing, and able to again go to court to protect
yours and my right to protect our property, and we know
what to do next time.
The door is always open, if any Iowa official, DNR or
any person has a way to stop the deer damage on my
property, wants to pay me for my damage, put up a fence, or has any other
idea than the way I am doing it. Please submit a
plan to me on how it will work as I am willing to look
at any other measure that will stop the deer damage to
my property that is cheaper, faster and easier than what I do
"I believe that our
private property rights will not be taken from us by the
government, they will be given away by juries in trials,
that do not truly understand the meaning of private property