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Deer herd sale subject of indictment
South Bend-area man to admit role
By Phil Bloom
Outdoors editor

A South Bend-area man intends to plead guilty Monday in federal court to illegally capturing more than 30 deer near Potato Creek State Park and selling them to a game ranch in Texas.

Paul D. Papczynski, 49, of Lakeville, has been charged with a one-count violation of the federal Lacey Act, which prohibits the interstate commerce of fish and wildlife taken in violation of state law.

Papczynski is scheduled to make an initial court appearance at 1 p.m. Monday in U.S. District Court in South Bend, where court documents released Friday indicate he plans to enter a guilty plea.

Papczynski states in court documents that for years, including 2000, he maintained a herd of white-tailed deer behind fences on property he owns near Lakeville. He also states that he built the herd by taking in injured deer or capturing other deer around Potato Creek, some of which were captured using tranquilizers.

Papczynski also states in the documents that he took eight to 12 adult white-tailed deer and at least 15 white-tailed fawns in 2000 knowing that it violated Indiana law.

Later that year, Papczynski was contacted by James Anderton of Quinlan, Texas, and agreed to sell Anderton some of the deer. He sold the deer to Anderton for at least $4,000, Papczynski said in the documents.

Papczynski states that he knew the deer were required by Indiana law to be tested for tuberculosis before being transported across state lines. He admits in the documents that the deer he sold to Anderton were not tested and further states that just before the deer were being loaded onto a trailer in October 2000 that Anderton shaved hair off the necks of the deer to make it appear they had been properly tested for tuberculosis.

Papczynski says in the documents that he knew he needed a game breeder’s license from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to possess and maintain a deer herd and to sell deer, but says in the documents he did not have such a license in 2000.

“Ninety-eight percent of that statement is true,” Anderton said in a telephone interview. “The part where we shaved the necks to make them look TB (tested) is not true.”

Anderton, who operates a 640-acre hunting ranch in Ben Franklin, Texas, east of Dallas, said the shaving was done so he could administer a serum for epizootic hemorrhagic disease that is common in deer and similar to “bluetongue” virus in domestic livestock such as deer and sheep.

Anderton said the deer he bought from Papczynski were released in an open field at his facility and soon died from the disease. He also said he assumed Papczynski had a permit to possess the deer and was not told they had come from the wild.

“It’s a bad situation on me,” Anderton said. “I put myself in the situation. I should have left the deer alone. If I’d known what I know now, you couldn’t give me a deer anywhere alive or dead to bring across the state line, period.”

Papczynski’s attorney, James F. Korpal of South Bend, did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment.

The case is assigned to assistant U.S. District Attorney Donald J. Schmid, who also prosecuted the case against Russell G. Bellar this year in which Bellar pleaded guilty to three counts of an original 38-count federal indictment accusing him of violating federal drug and wildlife laws on his high-fenced deer facility near Peru.

Bellar was sentenced in May to 12 months and one day in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay more than $570,000 in fines, restitution and other court-related fees.

Schmid said the investigation leading to the charge against Papczynski was “a separate discovery” from the Bellar case. Schmid said there is an ongoing investigation but declined to comment on charges against anyone but Papczynski.

There are about 350 deer or elk farms in Indiana. Of those, 225 have DNR-issued game breeder’s permits to breed and sell white-tailed deer. The remaining farms have elk and other exotic deer species.

About a dozen offer hunting opportunities, but DNR director Kyle Hupfer announced Aug. 12 that killing white-tailed deer inside high-fenced enclosures is not legal under a game breeder’s permit. Hupfer also issued an emergency rule making it illegal to hunt elk, zebra, red deer and other exotic mammals.

Rodney Bruce, who operates a high-fenced shooting facility in southern Indiana, filed a lawsuit in Harrison County on Thursday to overturn Hupfer’s ban.

3,025 Posts
There is still deer in his fence. His place is only couple miles from me. Few years ago I know he was tranqulizing deer and taking them in. He used to go to another friend of mine right outside Potato Creek and get them. He was there 1 night when I was at my friends and that is what he was there for. Some guys look to get a trophy on the wall. He looked to take em back alive. Some deer they could not bring out of the sleep and died. He also admitted to taking them out of Potato Creek. That was before the park started having hunts, and there was deer everywhere. Was strange hearing a guy chasing deer around with a tranquilinzing gun so he could sell them. But I can say that the story above is true. Cant figure out why he is still allowed to have deer at his house. If you drive up highway 31 going towards South Bend you will see his farm on the east side just North of LaVille High School. Went by there yesterday and saw 2 nice bucks standing in the fence.

2,604 Posts
GOOD....Lets hope it stays that way!!!!
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