HOLDREGE — A Bertrand man is facing a dozen charges stemming from a 2018 deer-poaching investigation in Frontier County.
Arthur Underwood Jr., 28, of Bertrand is charged in Phelps County Court with tampering with physical evidence, false reporting, five counts of violating hunting/fishing regulations and five counts of over bag limit.
Underwood’s affidavit of arrest warrant details the charges:
Conservation officer Michael E. Thome received a complaint on Dec. 8, 2018, that Underwood and other people in his hunting party were hunting on a property in Frontier County without permission. The landowner told Thome that at least four deer were taken by Underwood’s hunting group during the November rifle deer season, and the owner was unhappy with the hunters’ conduct.
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The 2018 November firearm deer season was from Nov. 10 to Nov. 18, and regulations allowed a hunter to obtain two permits for antlered deer during one year. Hunters are required to cancel their deer permit immediately upon kill and deliver the deer to a check station by 1 p.m. the day following the close of firearm season.
During his initial interview with Thome, Underwood said only two deer were taken by Rebecca Wood and Halley Helleberg. Underwood repeatedly advised that he and others in the hunting party had not shot any deer during the 2018 deer hunting season.
Later on Dec. 8, Thome went to Underwood’s residence where Underwood admitted to shooting deer during the 2018 firearm deer season. Underwood produced a mule deer buck head and cape as well as antlers from a whitetail buck. Underwood had not canceled his permit or checked in any of his deer. Underwood also admitted to picking up four other buck deer antler sets from Tristin Wood’s garage in Phelps County, where deer belonging to Underwood were allegedly butchered. Underwood told Thome he took the antlers and hid them next to the Tri-County Canal near Phillips Canyon in Gosper County. Thome collected four antler sets from the location in the canal.
In an interview on Dec. 14, Underwood told Thome that he shot seven deer during the 2018 firearm deer season, but Thome only collected six sets of antlers from Underwood who claimed the antlers must have been missed or thrown away from the others in the canal.
Underwood is scheduled to appear in Phelps County Court later this month.
Four other people already have been convicted in connection with the case.
Halley Helleberg, 22, of Loomis pleaded guilty in Phelps County Court to unlawful taking or possession of game. The charge is in regard to possession of whitetail buck taken in wrong unit. Helleberg was fined $500, and liquidated damages were in the amount of $2,000.
Easton Kalb, 22, of Kearney pleaded guilty in Phelps County Court to two counts of violating hunting/fishing regulations for failing to check-in deer and separating deer into more quarters before check-in. Kalb was fined $100 for each violation for a total of $200, and liquidated damages for one antlerless whitetail deer was $500.
Johnathon Wood, 21, of Lexington pleaded guilty in Frontier County Court to hunting deer without a permit. He was fined $150.
Tristin Wood, 22, of Loomis pleaded guilty in Phelps County Court to violating hunting/fishing regulations due to no custody tags. He was fined $100.