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Man sentenced after poaching two elk on North Cumberland WMA

JACKSBORO  |  A Campbell County man has been sentenced after admitting in court to illegally killing two elk on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area in November.

Preston William Douglas, 34, of Jacksboro, was sentenced in Campbell County General Sessions Court on April 4, after he entered guilty pleas on two counts of illegally taking big game and related charges.

Douglas had his hunting license revoked for five years and was banned from the North Cumberland WMA for three years. He will also serve three years of supervised probation, was fined $10,000 in restitution in addition to fines and court costs, and forfeited a rifle and a handgun that had been seized by TWRA officers.

The incident occurred on Nov. 19, 2023 — the second day of the whitetail deer gun hunt. A witness heard multiple shots on the WMA while deer hunting and, while investigating, encountered a hunter who said he had shot two deer — a doe and a six-point buck. 

Because the limit on the WMA was one deer per person, the informant contacted North Cumberland WMA manager Darrell England. 

England identified Douglas using vehicle tag information, and he and wildlife officer Dustin Burke visited Douglas’s home the following day. He admitted to officers that he had fired shots, but said he didn’t kill anything.

The officers went to the WMA and searched the area where Douglas had been parked, finding no evidence. After another conversation with the witness, the officers revisited the scene and discovered the decomposing carcasses of a bull and cow elk with bullet wounds to the bodies and heads.

A necropsy was conducted at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville, and officers were able to determine that shots had been fired from a .40 caliber handgun and a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle. 

A follow-up visit with Douglas resulted in him hunting and killing both animals. He was charged with a laundry list of crimes related to poaching, and the two guns in his possession were seized.

There have been a total of 14 elk poached on the North Cumberland WMA, according to TWRA. Eight of those cases have been solved.

The North Cumberland’s elk herd is the second-largest elk population east of the Mississippi River. A reintroduction program was launched in 2000 when a trailer-load of Canadian elk were released in the mountains near Montgomery Junction.

GC Staff
GC Staff
Go Cumberlands is the premiere source of information for visitors to Tennessee's Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau region.

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