Officials: Michigan man admits to driving drunk, shooting deer from car

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — A Michigan man is facing charges after state officials said he confessed to shooting deer illegally in an effort to relieve frustration.

Officers with Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources announced charges against Edward Trout, whom they say illegally shot deer and abandoned the carcasses.

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Officials said their investigation started with eight tips from the community reporting gunfire and dead deer.

“We’re grateful for the concerned community members who reported the many dead, gunshot deer that were discovered throughout these communities, which helped officers identify a suspect,” Chief Dave Shaw, DNR law enforcement division, said in a statement. “The suspect has continued to display repetitive, unethical behavior while stealing public trust resources and allowing them to go to waste.”

Investigators told WJBK that Trout initially denied doing anything wrong, until he was shown text messages where he discussed driving and shooting deer.

Officers said that when Trout admitted to the behavior, he said he “relieved frustration by driving around at night, listening to music and occasionally shooting his pistol into vacant fields from his pickup truck,” and that he did so often “while under the influence of alcohol and/or marijuana.”

Officers said that a total of 13 deer had been shot and abandoned across two townships.

Investigators said that they also received a tip that Trout was illegally spearing turtles at a nearby lake. Evidence in that case includes multiple speared turtles found left on the shore, including one with a spear still in it, WJBK reported.

Trout pleaded not guilty. His hunting and fishing privileges were suspended until his next court hearing, and officers seized his firearm, crossbow, and homemade spear among other evidence, WDIV reported.