Decoys Stolen and Returned: Need Advice

Discussion in 'The Duck Hunters Forum' started by jzoo, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. jzoo

    jzoo Senior Refuge Member

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    To make a long story short.....November 23 2017 we show up to our permanent shallow water spread to find 60 bigfoot canada's missing. We call the sheriff/GW and file a report but don't ever expect to see them again.
    Fast forward to last week: I am watching a small clip of a video that my friend produced and notice a 4 second clip that has my decoys and homemade stake system in the frame. These stakes are cut and welded the exact same as ours with the same rust lines from the water, no way it could be somebody elses stakes. So I contact my friend and tell him the story so he contacts the people he was filming for and it turns out a 17 year old kid from the area is the one who brought those decoys that day. Whoever invited the kid to hunt that day contacts his parents and provides the picture evidence of our stakes and the stakes in the video. They ask their son and he confesses. We got a text yesterday that all of the decoys had been returned to our lake. We found the 60 that were stolen with stakes, 12 additional bigfoots, a giftcard for $25, and this letter:
    upload_2018-7-29_9-27-34.png

    To summarize: He APPEARS to understand what he did was wrong. His parents are revoking his hunting privileges, not letting him play his senior season of football, and made him give us his only 12 decoys as a form of retribution.

    My question is what should I do legally? Assuming this is the kids first offense, I don't want him charged with a felony which would pretty much ruin his life for the foreseeable future. But I don't think it should go unpunished either.

    My first thought is I have the Sheriff and GW go to his house (and check to make sure he doesn't have anybody elses decoys as there were a couple thefts in the area last year), give him the lecture, and ask the judge to try him as a juvenile with punishment being some community service and revoke hunting privileges for a couple years.
    Or do we not press charges at all? Or do we throw the book at him?

    What say you?
     
  2. stevena198301

    stevena198301 Elite Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    Invite him hunting. Let him shoot some birds. Chew his ***. Invite him back. Do his parents hunt?
     
  3. JohnBZ

    JohnBZ Elite Refuge Member

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    Interesting dilemma. I'd maybe inform the cops of what happened and dont press charges as long as the kid proves himself to you by hard work as his punishment. Even good kids can make bad mistakes.
     
  4. DuckyPhe

    DuckyPhe Senior Refuge Member Supporting Member

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    This is just what I would do, not trying to tell you what to do by any means.

    I'd set up a meeting with the young man and his parents to see if I could determine the truth. The letter could be forced or legit. Can't tell for sure without talking with him. If he comes off sincere, I'd make him spend the next season grunting on us. In other words, learning how to do it right without getting to shoot. I would not be inclined to increase his punishment (might threaten too just to make sure he shows up every day he can). What good can really come from that? His parents are hitting him pretty hard. He's obviously got a love for hunting. I'd try to show him a good example of what a "man" does and turn a bad into a good.

    Just my opinion, but the youth is the future of our hobby. ;)

    Chris

    P.S. I did a lot of stupid **** in my youth. I'm forever grateful to those that were patient and mature with me. ;)
     
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  5. buck_master_2001

    buck_master_2001 Elite Refuge Member

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    He’s 17. He made a mistake. He’s obviously very sorry. He learned his lesson and I don’t think he will do it again. Move on.
     
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  6. Timber Hole

    Timber Hole Senior Refuge Member

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    It sounds like he has good parents. I’d let them do their job. After setting it up with the parents I’d visit him with the sheriff and let him know what the penalties are if you press charges. In other words, make him pee himself a little. I wouldn’t ruin his life over some goose decoys.

    I do like the idea of taking him hunting. Despite what seems to be good parents, maybe he could use a little mentoring.
     
  7. jzoo

    jzoo Senior Refuge Member

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    I agree with most of the sentiment here, I dont want the kids life ruined over this. However I have had zero direct communication from him or his parents (other than the note). The people he was hunting with wont give up his name or phone number, all i know is H. Simms from his signature. There is no H Simms on any HS football roster within 100mi of here (rural nebraska). It has to go to the sheriff for any of this to be verified, but we can still not press charges once we figure it out.
     
  8. GK1

    GK1 Elite Refuge Member

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    Need some work done around the place? Grass cut at home? Ball busting chores? Have him work it off and learn a lesson. No need for cops and that's hard for me to say because I hate a thief. I couldn't imagine looking over a spread of decoys that I know were stolen and enjoying myself.
     
  9. widgeon

    widgeon Elite Refuge Member

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    I'm thinking that this kid only got caught by a wierd happenstance and would still have your decoys except for that 4 second clip you saw
    He didn't come forward on his own.
    I think you're exactly right in getting the sheriff involved.
     
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  10. negooseman

    negooseman Elite Refuge Member

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    IMO, if you have the sheriff/game warden involved, they should have to do their jobs and enforce the laws broken. The judge should have to do the same with any prosecution that would follow. You really shouldn't have any say in the matter. I doubt your decoys would of been returned if the by chance viewing wouldn't of happened.
     
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