Release Date: 06/30/2010

Six men were sentenced on April 23 for hunting deer illegally on Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) by the 10th Judicial District Court in Natchitoches Parish.

Robert L. Belsha, 37, Jeremy C. Martin, 23, John D. Redden, 31, Michael L. Sanders Jr., 23, John H. Saucier III, 27, all of Leesville, each pled guilty to possession of an illegally taken deer.  George F. Sheppard, 45, also of Leesville, pled guilty to not abiding by commission rules and regulations.

The men were charged following an investigation into illegal deer being killed during the bucks only segment of deer season on KNF.  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents began the investigation after receiving information that a doe deer had been killed on KNF during a deer hunt with dogs on Dec. 22, 2009. 

As a result of the investigation, agents were able to document six doe deer that were killed illegally by the men using deer dogs from Dec. 19 through Dec. 26, 2009, on KNF.  LDWF agents seized three illegal deer and an antlerless deer tag.

Judge Dee Hawthorne accepted the guilty pleas and issued a suspended sentence of six months in jail to each man.  Martin was fined $600 plus court costs, with each of the others fined $500 plus court costs.  Redden, Sanders, and Sheppard were each ordered to pay LDWF restitution in the amount of $524.54 for their illegal deer.  Belsha was ordered to pay LDWF restitution in the amount of $1049.08 for two illegal deer.

All six men were also placed on supervised probation for one year or until their fines and restitution are paid in full.  In addition, Judge Hawthorne suspended the hunting privileges of Martin, Sheppard, Redden, Sanders and Belsha for one year.

Lt. Bill Tyree, Sgt. Curt Belton, and Senior Agents Russell Brack, Scotty Delaney, and Eric Droddy participated in the case.

The case was prosecuted by Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's Office.

For more information, contact Capt. Peter Oliver at or 318-487-5634.