Hunters feel wronged by words

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 12, 2000

Pete Phifer, part owner of Rebel Archery, and Daniel Butler discuss attorneys’ comments about illegal hunting in Warren County. (The Vicksburg Post/ROB MAXWELL)

Some Warren County hunters when asked Wednesday and this morning said words spoken by attorneys before the sentencing of four men for federal game violations were simply wrong.

Attorney Travis T. Vance Jr., who was representing one of the men who admitted killing deer by illegal means and out of season, implied that such acts were a way of life in Warren County.

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“That may be the way some people do it, but the majority of hunters in Warren County are sportsmen,” said Pete Phifer, part owner of Rebel Archery Shop on Halls Ferry Road.

Vance said of his client, Billy K. Hearn, “He was raised in rural Warren County where some activities are a way of life.”

“What they (the defendants) did is not the way it is in Warren County,” said hunter Daniel Butler. “We are not a bunch of hicks.”

Phifer, 60, who has lived in Warren County all his life said people like Hearn and the other three men give hunters a bad reputation.

“These people are getting notoriety, not the ones that spend a lifetime hunting legally,” he said.

Hearn, 34, along with Lewis E. Howell Sr., 49, Timothy S. Howell, 20, Lloyd D. Palmer, 31, were sentenced to federal prison terms Tuesday in Vicksburg. The elder Howell was sentenced to six months, Hearn received four months and Palmer and Timothy Howell must serve three months.

Attorney Arnold Dyer, representing the younger Howell, said, “Hunting in and out of season is a way of life for him.”

The attorneys’ comments came before the sentencing by U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette III. More defendants, all residents of Louisiana, face court action as a result of the two-year investigation that also included illegal trafficking in venison.

Mike Waring, who works as a wildlife biologist, said gaming violations are not limited to one group.

“Some well-heeled people are the worst gaming violators, but no matter who you are it is wrong,” Waring said. “They are hurting our current generation and future generations.”

Trip Hadad, owner of Hadad’s Outdoor World, said the sentences should have been longer.

“Hunters spend a lot of money on this sport, and those people are stealing from them, but I know a lot of hunters will be glad to see they are going to jail,” Hadad said.

Craig Prevost, a Redwood native, said the four men shouldn’t make excuses for what they did. “I think they were saying it is a way of life for them, but that doesn’t make it right.”