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Kalamazoo man 'addicted to venison' charged with deer poaching

Conservation officers began investigating in February 2022 after tips to hotline
Scott Meisterheim, 55, of Kalamazoo in a photo conservation officers obtained as evidence, the DNR says.

A Kalamazoo man was in court last week for a pretrial hearing related to illegal deer hunting, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said in a news release.

Scott Kevin Meisterheim, 55, was arraigned earlier this month in the 8th District Court of Kalamazoo County for the following 10 charges, sought by the Michigan DNR:

  • Taking white-tailed deer outside of lawful hunting hours (one count)
  • Hunting white-tailed deer with no license (two counts)
  • Uses the deer hunting licenses of another (two counts)
  • Taking an overlimit of antlered white-tailed deer (two counts)
  • Transporting/possessing untagged antlered white-tailed deer (three counts)

The DNR said it requested additional charges for illegal bait, failing to immediately validate/attach kill tags and using another’s hunting license.

Said Chief Dave Shaw, DNR Law Enforcement Division: “Violations of this type deprive law-abiding people of their opportunity to have access to and enjoy a public trust natural resource, in this case white-tailed deer.”

DNR conservation officers began investigating in February 2022 after tips were reported to the DNR’s poaching hotline.

Conservation Officer James Nason, who patrols Kalamazoo County, investigated a series of tips by interviewing several witnesses regarding alleged illegal hunting activity from October to December 2021.

The DNR said evidence collected during the investigation revealed that Meisterheim took at least 11 deer from Oct. 1-Dec. 24, 2021, including three deer Oct. 1, and that he believed he was “tagged out” the first week of archery season.

Within three days, Meisterheim let two deer spoil; those were rejected by the processor due to their condition, according to the DNR news release.

Nason interviewed Meisterheim at the Kalamazoo County Jail, where Meisterheim was lodged at the time for domestic abuse.

“Sure, I love to kill deer,” Meisterheim is reported to have said. “If I could kill more I would, to be honest with you.”

Meisterheim, who was hunting without a hunting license, during all hours of the day and while using illegal bait, also obtained other people’s deer tags to cover his illegal deer, if he even tagged them at all, according to the DNR.

He told Nason that he “is not the most ethical hunter, tagging other people’s deer, but I don’t care – I am addicted to the venison.”

In explaining why he was in possession of so many deer, Meisterheim also claimed that injured deer would stumble to and die near his hunting location.

Meisterheim also hunted several properties where he did not have permission, including in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, the DNR said.

Meisterheim is currently serving 18 months’ probation for aggravated domestic assault in Kalamazoo County. He is due back in court for the DNR charges in February.