“Spook” Spann pleads guilty for illegal hunting

On Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, William “Spook” Spann, a well-known bowhunter, pleaded guilty to illegally killing a trophy Kansas deer in 2007.

A court press release said Spann, 50, of Dickson, Tenn.,  admitted to killing the whitetail buck in Stafford County on land owned by another person. His permit for that year required he only hunt on property that he owned.

The buck carried non-typical antlers that gross-scored about 230 inches on the Pope & Young scoring system, with a net score of about 224 inches. If legally taken, it would rank as one of the top bucks ever shot in Kansas and was thought to be one of the top bucks taken in the world in 2007.

He was charged with transporting the illegally-killed deer across state lines, a violation of the federal Lacey Act. The deer was shot with archery equipment, during legal shooting hours, during Kansas’ archery season.

Spann, who is featured on several television shows and hunting videos, and a cameraman saw the deer on property owned by another landowner, stalked within range and he shot the buck at about 10 yards. Video of the hunt, and photos of the deer, were widely circulated.

Spann’s sentencing is set for Feb. 28. The court release said prosecutors and defense attorneys have agreed to recommend Spann be sentenced to three years federal probation, including a six-month suspension of U.S. hunting priviledges, plus another six months in which he would be prohibited from hunting in Kansas. Recommended is a fine of $10,000 and another $10,000 could also be paid in restitution to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Sentencing will probably also include he not promote the illegal deer on his site, www.spookspann.com.

The press release did not indicate if Spann could retain possession of the deer antlers. Normally in poaching crimes, all parts of the animal are confiscated.