Officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are investigating a case that have left them in disbelief. At a home in Pinetops, officers found 26 dead deer. A tip led them to the home. Several charges have been filed.

Lt. Sam Craft with the NCWRC said is was a shocking scene. 

“The deer were in various states of decay. Some were just the head with the antlers, and others were whole deer left to lie in the field,” said Craft.

In the yard, officers found sixteen deer heads, most of which were from bucks. Further investigating resulted in them finding ten additional deer in a number of nearby fields. They even found one deer wandering in a field, very much alive, but wounded so severely that the officers euthanized it. 

“You don’t know what to say to people who commit crimes like these. In the early stage of the investigation, it does not appear that they were trying to feed their families,” said Craft.

18-year-old Christopher Jernigan of Elm City has been charged with night hunting, Timothy Stamatis, 19, has been charged with unlawful possession, and two juveniles who were not named have also been charged, according to the NCWRC. 

The four each face a $500 penalty and the cost of replacing each deer.This would amount to approximately $15,000 total, said Craft. They may also lose their hunting licenses for two years.

This past Friday, Jan. 1, was the last day of deer season. Night hunting for deer is illegal in North Carolina.

If you suspected poaching or other illegal activity involving North Carolina's wild fish or game population, click here to report it.