Maryville man convicted of illegal hunting sentenced

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Maryville man convicted of illegal hunting has pleaded guilty to felony and several misdemeanor charges in connection with illegal bear and deer hunting.

Chris Caughron, 23, pleaded guilty Friday to killing a 400-pound black bear during closed season last September.

Caughron was also convicted in Knox County last month of felony reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and hunting from a public roadway for shooting at a trophy-buck deer on Pellissippi parkway.

Officials say Caughron, along with others, illegally baited and killed the bear on Chilhowee Mountain after turning hunting dogs loose.

Caughron ran from police and assisted in dumping the black bear carcass.

In another incident in Knox County, Caughron, was driving along Pellissippi parkway when he pulled over fired a shot at a deer, which was also in the direction of Sgt. Durnin.

Caughron left the scene and was later arrested on Northshore Drive.

At the time of the incidents, Caughron was hunting without a license after having his hunting privileges revoked out of Illinois for illegal hunting and was prohibited from hunting in Tennessee because of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. This compact means that if a person has had their hunting privileges revoked in a member state, then their privileges are revoked in all participating states.

In Knox County Circuit Court, Caughron lost his hunting and fishing privileges for five years and received two years of probation for the felony reckless endangerment and hunting from a public roadway charges.

Blount County Circuit Court Judge Tammy M. Harrington found Caughron guilty of criminal littering, use of bait to hunt black bear, killing bear in closed season, and refusing inspection.

He received six months judicial diversion for each of the littering and wildlife convictions and 30 days judicial diversion for refusing inspection.

He was assessed $375 in fines plus four court costs and received 40 hours of community service.

Judge Harrington ordered that Caughorn’s hunting and fishing privileges be suspended for two years which brings his total revoked privileges to seven years when combined with the Knox County revocations.

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