Friday December 21, 2012

DAWSON RASPUZZI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A New York man pleaded not guilty to charges Monday after police say he jacked a deer after drinking too much at a bar and then got his pickup stuck in a creek bed.

On Oct. 14 State Game Warden Travis Buttle received a call from a Sandgate landowner who found a dead deer that had been shot with a rifle on his property off Bells Road. The man also told Buttle Jacob Eastman, 24, of Salem, N.Y. had gotten his GMC pickup stuck in a creek bed at the edge of a large alfalfa field near where the deer was found.

Buttle interviewed Eastman at his residence later the same day and Eastman admitted to having "four or five" beers at the Salem Tavern the night before and then getting his pickup stuck in the creek.

When asked, Eastman told Buttle "he did not know why he was in the field because he was drunk," according to the affidavit. Buttle found a rifle with live ammunition and spent rifle cartridges in his pickup and Eastman then admitted to shooting the three-point buck from inside the pickup when the deer was in his headlights.

Another man who was staying at a camp adjacent to the field told Buttle sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. Oct. 14 he was woken by the sound of a gun shot.

Eastman said he had a hard time remembering the previous night's events. "Get to drinking like that, it's not good. It's never good," Eastman told Buttle, and it was "kinda fuzzy all the way through," the affidavit states.


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Eastman told Buttle he was trying to shoot the deer for meat because "food is expensive in the store."

Eastman said it was raining hard at the time and was so cold he thought he was going to catch pneumonia. In the morning Eastman said he had a friend help get his pickup out of the creek bed.

On Monday, Eastman pleaded not guilty in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to misdemeanor charges of DUI and taking a big game animal by illegal means.

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at draspuzzi@benningtonbanner.com or follow on Twitter @DawsonRaspuzzi