Albino Deer Killed by Poachers Will Be First Known Test of New Law
Several young Lewis County residents may soon learn that a night out poaching deer is a bad idea, made even worse than normal by a decision to kill an albino deer.
“As far as I know, this is the first case that has been made concerning an albino deer since the law that made it illegal to kill them went into effect,” noted Jeff Skelton, the TWRA wildlife officer who apprehended the alleged shooter and several of his friends when they attempted to recover the dead deer.
The Tennessee General Assembly voted in 2001 to protect albino deer, an animal with a solid white pelt and pink eyes. It is a misdemeanor to deliberately kill or possess an albino deer, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Kill, however, is what Hohenwald resident Braden Pace allegedly did earlier this month late at night while riding around with four other Lewis County residents, including two juveniles. The deer was killed in the community of Kimmins.
“I cited Mr. Pace with five misdemeanors, including possession of the albino deer and possessing drug paraphernalia,” noted Skelton. “I also charged Justin and Woodrow Chapin with the same offenses, but Mr. Pace did the shooting. All three of them of are in their early 20s.”
Pace was also charged with shooting from the road, shooting from a motor vehicle, and shooting a deer in closed season. The two juveniles also were cited with several misdemeanors. Both are high school age. From time of death evidence gathered by TWRA, it appears the Pace killed the animal about 1:30 in the morning. He attempted to recover it the following day, but Skelton was waiting on him.“Mr. Pace has been in trouble before because of poaching, so I had a heads up that something might be going on with him,” said Skelton. “We confiscated a muzzleloader rifle from him and his vehicle. All in all, it was a pretty expensive night for him and his buddies.”Pace, the Chapins, and the two juveniles are scheduled to appear in Lewis County General Sessions Court on December 5.