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Raccoon hunter cleared of conviction for fetching wayward dog

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A raccoon hunter’s misdemeanor conviction was reversed Tuesday when appellate judges determined he wasn’t hunting or chasing wildlife when he retrieved his wandering dog from property where he didn’t have permission to hunt.

Jeremy Schath was convicted of Class C misdemeanor chasing wildlife on private property without the consent of the owner after the state amended an initial charge of hunting without permission during a bench trial before Decatur Superior Judge Matthew D. Bailey. The case is Jeremy Schath v. State of Indiana, 16A05-1308-CR-433.

Schath was raccoon hunting in November 2012 with the permission of the property owner when his dog wandered onto private property where Schath didn’t have permission to hunt. He put his gun down and retrieved the dog, which had cornered a raccoon in a drainage pipe.

“While we do not reweigh the credibility of witnesses or the evidence on appeal, we note that in the instant matter, no such ‘reweighing’ is necessary because all of the evidence in the record indicates that Schath entered the Coffee Tree Farms Property for the sole purpose of retrieving his dog, not for the purpose of chasing a raccoon,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the panel.

“As such, we conclude that the evidence presented before the trial court was insufficient to sustain Schath’s conviction for Class C misdemeanor chasing wildlife on private property without the consent of the landowner. Accordingly, we reverse Schath’s conviction.”

 
 

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