Teamwork strikes again in major illegal deer harvest case

Illegal deer harvest case brought to a close ... Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Conservation Warden Shawna (Kerndt) Stringham (right), a 1991 graduate of Waukon High School, stands with fellow WDNR Conservation Warden Ed McCann (left) displaying the heads of nine whitetail bucks and a cross bow that were all confiscated as part of an investigation into a large-scale illegal deer harvest that took place in 2018 in Vernon County and was recently brought to justice. The conclusion of the case resulted in two Wisconsin men being ordered to pay over $22,000 in fines and being banned from hunting, trapping or fishing nationwide for a period of at least a dozen years each, with several others involved also having to pay lesser fines and serve bans of one to two years. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Wisconsin DNR Conservation Warden Shawna (Kerndt) Stringham brings illegal hunting contingency to justice

Editor’s Note: The following news item was shared by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Conservation Warden Shawna (Kerndt) Stringham is a 1991 graduate of Waukon High School.

The Vernon County Circuit Court in Wisconsin ordered two local men who led a 2018 illegal shining and shooting operation of deer to pay thousands of dollars in fines and banned them from hunting, fishing and trapping for 15 years nationwide, concluding a case investigated by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Conservation Warden Shawna Stringham and her team of wardens, citizens and court officials.

Stringham says the two men - Jacob Menne of Readstown, WI and Monte Mabb of Ferryville, WI - are repeat violators and coordinated the operation that recruited a few others at times. However, she says it is Menne and Mabb who were the leaders and are responsible for the illegal shooting of 20 deer - including nine bucks.

“This is a case of two people who are not hunters by any stretch of the imagination, but determined to steal wildlife from the public - wildlife observers and those who are ethical and law-abiding hunters,” Stringham said. “Their actions were not only against the law, but also demonstrated a lack of safety and concern for any person or home or anything that may have been behind the deer they were illegally shining and shooting.”

With support from Vernon County District Attorney Tim Gaskell, the court delivered five criminal charges plus $12,250 in fines and 15 years of revocation to Menne while Mabb received four criminal charges, $9,872 in fines and 12 years of revocation from the DNR privileges of hunting, fishing and trapping.

Three others who were less involved - Jacob Yearous of Viola, WI, DJ Bannister of Viola, WI and Damon Peterson of Lafarge, WI - each were given single criminal charges and $2,500 fines. Yearous and Peterson also were given one-year revocations of privileges while Bannister was given a two-year revocation.

Under the terms of the Interstate Wildlife Compact, any person whose license privileges are suspended in a member state - of which Wisconsin is - is also suspended in all other member states. There are 48 member states with the remaining two in the process of joining. Read more about the compact at

“It must be stressed that without the support of the community, other wardens and the court officials who share a common bond to protect our state’s natural resources from illegal activities, this case may have taken much longer - or perhaps not have had the successful conclusion,” Stringham said. “Ninety-nine percent of hunters that I run into are ethical hunters who do abide by our laws. This case in no way reflects the hunters I serve in Vernon County.”

Stringham enlisted the teamwork of WDNR Wardens Ed McCann, Cody Adams and Trevor Tracey. As part of the investigation, Stringham said nine bucks and a crossbow were confiscated.

Lt. Tyler Strelow, who heads the Mississippi Warden Team that include Stringham, echoed her comments.

“This case was a direct result of concerned citizens calling their local conservation wardens with information,” he said. “Citizens are our eyes and ears when it comes to knowing what is going on out in the field.”

Anyone who has information regarding natural resource violations may confidentially report the violations by calling 1-800-847-9367 in Wisconsin or 1-800-532-2020 in Iowa.

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