CJ Alexander Indicted for Poaching Trophy Buck

Last fall, Ohioan Christopher “CJ” Alexander shot a giant whitetail buck in Ohio. The deer, which could have gone down as the biggest typical buck ever shot in Ohio and the third-biggest typical in North America, quickly drew attention from the hunting community. But soon after shooting the deer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) seized it, announcing that the buck may not have been taken where Alexander said it was.

In a May 10 press release, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and the Ohio DNR announced the results of their investigation—and a slew of charges. Alexander stated that he’d killed the buck on the property his sister Kristina Alexander owns, but that was not the case.

“Wildlife officers discovered through warranted searches of cellphone data that Christopher Alexander had illegally hunted the trophy buck on private property about 10 miles from his sister’s land, and later learned that the written permission from his sister he had presented to wildlife officers had been falsified—after the deer was killed—to mislead authorities,” stated a spokesperson for the Ohio Office of the Attorney General. “Evidence revealed Christopher Alexander staged the deer taking at his sister’s property with the help of Corey P. Haunert and his brother, Zachary R. Haunert, to conceal the poaching.”

The investigation showed that Corey Haunert helped Alexander poach deer on several other occasions. Additionally, Alexander was found to have illegally profited from the poached trophy buck by “selling deer antlers and receiving payments totaling $20,000 from an antler collector, a hunting magazine, and a company that sells deer products.”

Alexander faces 23 charges for his crimes, including five counts each of illegally hunting deer without written permission and taking possession of a deer in violation of a division rule, three counts of theft by deception, two counts each of hunting without a license, hunting deer without a valid deer permit, tampering with evidence, and one count each for jacklighting, theft, falsification, and the sale of wildlife parts. Corey Haunert also faces 8 charges for assisting Alexander. Kristina Alexander and Zachary Haunert each face two charges for their roles in the incident.

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“Blinded by greed, the defendants set their sights on fame and fortune while disregarding basic hunting regulations. Instead of the cover of Field & Stream, their notoriety will be a booking photo,” said Yost. “This once-in-a-lifetime deer embodies the great natural resources Ohio has to offer. It is shameful that this deer ended up in an evidence room rather than adorning an ethical hunter’s wall as a prized trophy.”  

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