Serial Deer Poacher Forced To Watch 'Bambi' As Punishment

David Berry, who along with two family members illegally killed hundreds of deer in Missouri, was sentenced to a year in prison. But the judge also tacked on another novel penalty.

By Gina Tron

A Missouri poacher responsible for illegally killing several hundred deer will serve a year in jail, but perhaps the most painful part of his punishment will be when he is forced to watch “Bambi” over and over again.

David Berry Jr. is one of three men from a Missouri family convicted in the state’s “largest conservation cases involving the illegal taking of deer,” according to the Missouri Conservation Department.

“It is unknown how many deer the main group of suspects has taken illegally over the past several years,” Lawrence County Conservation Agent Andy Barnes said in the Conservation Department press release. “It would be safe to say that several hundred deer were taken illegally.”

Not only did the men likely kill hundreds of deer over a three-year period, but the group targeted trophy bucks and mostly just kept their heads, “leaving the bodies of the deer to waste.”

Berry, 29, was sentenced to one year in jail on Dec. 6.  But a judge decided that time behind bars wasn’t enough. Berry will be subjected to watch the 1942 animated film “Bambi” once a month while in jail. The Walt Disney classic features a famous, heart-wrenching scene when a hunter shoots and kills the protagonist's mother.

Berry must watch the film on or before Dec. 23, just in time for Christmas, and “at least one such viewing each month thereafter” while in jail, according to court records obtained by the Springfield News-Leader.

“In situations like this, with serial poachers who have no regard for the animals, rules of fair chase or aren’t bothered by the fact that they’re stealing from others, it’s all about greed and ego,” Randy Doman, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s protection division chief, told the Springfield News-Leader.

Berry was also sentenced to 120 days in jail in another county for a felony firearms probation violation. His co-conspirators in the deer killing, David Berry Sr. and Eric Berry, were also previously convicted of taking gamefish by hand in 2017, according to the Conservation Department.

[Photo: Lawerence County Sheriff’s Office]

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