Wisconsin Judge Facing Charges for Illegal Hunting Practices

A Wisconsin Judge is being charged with shining, using bait illegally, and being a party to hunting after hours. (Photo: Wisconsin DNR)

A Wisconsin judge has been charged for violating several hunting restrictions at his cabin late last year. The judge, Michael J. Piontek, 70, is being charged for shining a deer, which carries fines and possibly jail time if he’s found guilty.

Piontek, who is a judge in Wisconsin’s Racine County, owns a cabin in Ashland County where the criminal complaint was filed. Fines for shining are $1,000 or $2,000 depending on the details of the case, and jail time can be up to six months.

Shining is the practice of using a bright light to dazzle game and is illegal in many parts of the country. In addition to shinning deer the Wisconsin game warden investigating found about 21 gallons of bait around Piontek’s cabin, well above the 2-gallon limit.

The original incident dates back to November 26, 2019. A warden with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources saw a six-point buck travel from a wooded area toward Piontek’s property around 7:30 p.m. Hunting hours ended at 4:30 p.m.

Shortly after he heard a shot, and saw the buck run into a field. Piontek and a friend identified as John Tussler, 58, followed the buck with flashlights when the warden stopped the two for questioning.

During questioning, Tussler admitted to shooting the buck using Piontek’s rifle from inside the cabin. The cabin was equipped with a mounted floodlight.

See Also: Man Attacked by Panther while Turkey Hunting in Florida

Piontek is facing three charges, illegal shining of a deer, illegal bait and being a party to the violation of shooting a deer after hours.

“Judge Piontek owned the property where another hunter at his hunting camp is alleged to have violated DNR hunting regulations that prohibit hunting by use of an illumination device,” said his attorney, Patrick Cafferty reports the Journal Times. “The illumination device alleged to have been used was a standard porch light on the property.”

“Judge Piontek was charged under a ‘party to’ theory as he is the owner of the property where the other hunter allegedly committed the violations,” he said. “Recently, Judge Piontek was made aware of the allegations and we believe this matter will be resolved quickly and without criminal conviction.”

In 2018 Piontek was cited for possession of a deer showing evidence that it was shot by a firearm during archery season. He brought a deer carcass to a butcher shop for processing that, in addition to being shot with an arrow, also had a bullet hole in its rib cage.

The butcher shop called a game warden to inspect the carcass and the warden confirmed that it was a bullet hole and cited Piontek. Gun season would not start for another 10 days.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Walkin O'Shea May 14, 2020, 6:28 pm

    Why is this sh*t not sitting in jail, you can bet if it had been one of us, that’s where our families would be visiting us.

  • Jesse Tiede May 13, 2020, 10:50 pm

    I wonder just how many times he has given the maximum penalty to someone in his courtroom, who might have benefited from a reduced sentence? If this judge breaks the law concerning deer and hunting, I wonder what other laws he breaks with impunity…

  • The Bearded Pretender May 13, 2020, 4:31 pm

    Judges, Cops and Democrats are above the Law… Just look at the FBI, HRC, Bite-one and obama and you’ll see I’m correct.

  • D.J. May 13, 2020, 3:14 pm

    I was taught by my Grandfather in 1972 , that the process of what
    He called ” Jack-lighting ” , was an unacceptable form of hunting .
    Not only unsportsmanlike , but ungentlemanly as well .
    How this has escaped the jurist , is beyond me .

  • Matt H May 13, 2020, 10:08 am

    “Laws for thee, not for me.”

  • MAGA May 5, 2020, 7:51 pm

    Laws for us and laws for them. This crap has to stop. People need to start standing up to these self entitled crooks.

  • MAGA May 5, 2020, 7:49 pm

    “Oh, no, no,no. I make the laws for you. I do not have to follow the same laws. I am exempt.”

  • Big Jim May 5, 2020, 11:24 am

    Meanwhile deer are dead-scattered down the interstate one about every three miles.

  • Russ Hoelscher May 5, 2020, 9:13 am

    Sounds like your garden variety jack pine violator. I’d like to hear the outcome: fine, loss of gun, three years hunting rights?

    And what’s with the bullet hole in the chest cavity violation? Which came first, the bullet or the arrow? Cited for what? Sounds like a habitual violator who needs his pee-pee whacked. Pic in the local paper with quote, “No comment.”

  • Scott May 5, 2020, 9:06 am

    So, since he’s a judge (“Recently, Judge Piontek was made aware of the allegations and we believe this matter will be resolved quickly and without criminal conviction.”) he can poach a deer during archery season with a rifle, illegally bait and jack deer in gun season and walk. How nice for him. Pathetic, poaching is a detestable offence and should be dealt with appropriately.

  • Jim May 5, 2020, 6:48 am

    He’s a judge, he’ll get off, we only punish those that can’t afford to hire a top notch attorney.

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