LNP | LancasterOnline staff writer P.J. Reilly is boasting that his investigative work of watching a YouTube video helped lead to nearly $6,000 in fines for a Gordonville man.
Eli Matthew Stoltzfus, of Leacock Township, pleaded guilty to summary offences related to killing a deer in an illegal manner during a Chester County hunt.
The charges focused on Stoltzfus’ method of baiting the deer. Stoltzfus placed corn on the ground as bait to lure in the deer. The state’s Game Commission allows bait in Chester County because deer numbers are high. However, Stoltzfus ran afoul of the strict regulations when he simply placed the corn on the ground instead of dispensing correct amounts from a mechanical feeder at approved time intervals.
Stoltzfus’ method of hunting – which resulted in a dead deer in an area with an excess population of deer – was enough for the state to charge him thousands of dollars in fines, force him to forfeit the trophy antlers, and rescind his hunting privileges in Pennsylvania for two years.
Stoltzfus had posted a YouTube video of the hunting incident last December.
In a March 27 article, Reilly said, “This reporter watched the video on Dec. 8, after it was recommended by YouTube. From this reporter’s work covering hunting and the Game Commission for LNP for the past three decades, and from hunting deer in Chester County, this reporter is well-versed in the rules regarding baiting deer there.”
Despite being “well-versed in the rules regarding baiting,” Reilly said he wanted to know whether the video showed “an illegal kill” and if the state was investigating. He shared the video with the Game Commission and claims the agency was “not previously aware of it.”
An investigation followed, including a search warrant being served on Stoltzfus allowing officers to enter his residence and seize the buck’s antlers and some venison. Stoltzfus admitted to killing the deer and pleaded guilty to the charges.