You would think being witness to a horrific poaching incident that cost the life of an innocent 18-year-old boy would be enough to scare someone straight into towing-the-legal-line when it comes to game laws.
But for some, change is hard, and that’s certainly the case for David Kent.
In 2007, Kent and his brother Theron Thomas Kent, were traveling in Lyon County, Kansas — “coyote hunting” — when they spotted what they thought was a field full of Canadian geese. The geese were actually decoys that 18-year-old Beau Arndt and friends had laid out for a hunt; the waterfowlers were in a blind near the decoys.
From the front seat of the truck, Theron reportedly fired his high-powered rifle at the geese/decoys and tragically, the worst outcome possible occurred, when Arndt was struck by Theron’s round, killing him.
Kent testified in court that he was shooting at a coyote.
According to the Emporia Gazette, Theron was charged with involuntary manslaughter, unlawful hunting, unlawful discharge of a firearm and was sentenced to three years of prison. Theron was released Nov. 18, 2010 on low-level supervisory parole.
Fast forward to the recent Kansas Monster Buck Classic presented by Mossy Oak, which was held in Topeka the last weekend of January 2012. David Kent showed up to the event with an incredible 14-point typical rack that green scored 198 7/8 inches, a score that depending on shrinkage, would potentially challenge the state-record typical buck — a monster taken by Dennis P. Finger in Nemaha County in 1974.
The massive rack naturally garnered a lot of attention and questions about where the buck was killed along with other hunt details. Kent reported the buck was taken in “Northeast Kansas” but suspicions started to arise when a trail camera image surfaced showing the buck in Osage County, located in east central Kansas, from earlier in the season.
After comparing Kent’s rack to the trail camera images of the buck, KDWPT officials determined the buck was one in the same and began questioning Kent about more specific details. Kent eventually confessed to shooting the massive buck illegally. The rack was confiscated and Kent was taken into custody.
Kent faces charges of including criminal discharge of a firearm, criminal hunting, illegally hunting with an artificial light, hunting outside of legal hours, illegal hunting during a closed season, using an illegal caliber for taking big game, illegal hunting from a vehicle, and hunting without a valid deer permit, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
Dylan Polk contributed to this story