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Indiana DNR gives out its first lifetime hunting license suspension

Wild turkeys in an open, grassy field in Newton County, 2021.
Chris Light
/
Wikimedia Commons
Wild turkeys in Newton County, 2021. Hanson Pusey, 25, from West Lafayette was charged with hunting wild turkeys illegally in Indiana and six other states.

Indiana has suspended a man’s hunting license for life for the first time in state history. Hanson Pusey, 25, from West Lafayette was charged with hunting wild turkeys illegally in Indiana and six other states.

Pusey has a history of conservation violations. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources found out he was hunting with a suspended license in 2020 — which spurred the agency to investigate.

The DNR found more than 80 spent shotgun casings that Pusey identified using for turkey hunting in multiple states over the past decade. That includes at least four wild turkeys from Indiana — twice the legal limit for the year.

Capt. Jet Quillen handles public relations for the DNR’s law enforcement division. He said these laws are in place to protect wildlife in the state and make sure they maintain healthy populations.

“When you see a person that has just total disregard for those laws and no respect for the wildlife and the natural resources — at some point, you've got to take a stand against that. And luckily, we were able to do that this time," Quillen said.

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Retired DNR turkey biologist Steve Backs said there was a time when there were no more wild turkeys in Indiana because of unregulated hunting and habitat loss.

“They did not exist from 1900 until the first restoration attempt in 1956. So we are talking a half a century without turkeys on the landscape," he said.

Backs said it took another 50 years to restore those populations.

In addition to the suspension, Pusey will be detained at home and face more than $9,000 in court costs and fines from multiple states.

If you spot illegal hunting or fishing, call the agency’s tip line at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.

Contact reporter Rebecca Thiele at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.