Accused poacher’s hearing postponed, and linked to 2007 tragedy

The man accused of poaching a whitetail buck that could break a long-standing state record has been granted a continuance for his first day in court.

It’s also been confirmed he was at the scene of one of Kansas’ most notorious poaching-related crimes in 2007.

David Kent, Topeka, was to appear in Osage County District Court on March 1.  Brandon Jones, Osage County attorney, said his first appearance will now be March 29 so his attorney can prepare for the hearing.

By comparing addresses and birthdate from legal reports, Jones also confirmed David Kent was in the vehicle when his brother, Thomas Kent, fired a shot that killed 18-year-old Beau Arndt in Lyon County on Dec. 15, 2007.

David Kent was not charged in the case.

Thomas Kent fired a high-powered rifle shot into the goose decoys where Arndt was hiding while hunting, and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and other crimes in  June 2008. He was released from prison in November 2010. David Kent testified at the trial.

David Kent first brought the antlers of a big 14-point whitetail to public attention at January’s Monster Buck Classic in Topeka. The antlers were scored at 198 7/8 typical inches on the Boone & Crockett measuring system. The existing state record is a 198 2/8-inch buck shot in 1974 in Nemaha County by Dennis Finger.

Kent told officials at the event he’d shot the buck in Nemaha County in December, during the firearms deer season.

At the show, someone produced photos that showed the buck alive and in Osage County earlier in the fall. That’s a distance of about 80 miles. Wildlife officials compared the antlers and the photo and determined it was the same deer.

Kent was arrested and the antlers confiscated just after receiving an award for having the largest typical buck at the event. A law enforcement source said he confessed to killing the deer illegally.

On Feb. 1, he was charged with eight counts, including hunting deer at night with an artificial light, hunting during a closed season and hunting without the proper permit. He’s accused of shooting the deer in Osage County on Nov. 11.

Mike Miller, of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, said the antlers will not be recognized as a state record if it’s determined Kent did not kill the buck legally.