ROCKINGHAM >> On Jan. 19, Christopher Brough Sr., 45, of Rockingham, appeared in Windham Superior Court and pleaded guilty to taking big game by illegal means, taking deer in closed season and giving false information to a police officer.
On Dec. 7, 2015, Vermont State Game Warden David Taddei was driving by Brough's residence when he noticed an antler-less deer hanging from the front porch. Taddei stopped to inspect the deer for compliance with Fish and Wildlife regulations. While inspecting the deer, Taddei was told that it was shot by Brough and that it was reported at the Route 5 Shell Station in Rockingham as a bow-and-arrow kill. Dec. 5 was opening day of the second part of the Vermont archery deer season which coincides with muzzleloader deer season.
Taddei noticed that a wound on the deer was inconsistent with an arrow wound and believed that the deer was shot with a bullet. Brough did not have a muzzle-loader tag for an antler-less deer. Taddei seized the deer for further examination. A necropsy was performed on the deer the next day by Taddei and Vermont State Game Warden Richard Watkin. They determined the deer was shot with a bullet after finding several bullet fragments inside the deer.
Taddei and Watkin interviewed Brough and his son, who present at the time the deer was killed, on Dec. 12. The wardens were able to obtain confessions that on Dec. 5 the deer was shot by Brough with a muzzleloader from inside his vehicle on Rockingham Hill Road in Rockingham. Wardens also discovered that the deer was shot before legal shooting hours and that Brough's son used a flashlight to illuminate the deer from inside the vehicle.
Legal shooting hours for deer in Vermont begin one-half-hour before sunrise. It is illegal to illuminate wildlife with an artificial light, and a person must also be 25 feet away from the traveled portion of the road in order to shoot at a wild animal. It is also illegal to shoot a wild animal from a motor vehicle.
Brough pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to six to seven days in jail. He will lose his right to hunt, fish and trap in Vermont for three years and he will also need to take a remedial hunter ethics course in order to regain these rights.