Eddy Albert was one of the residents who allegedly poached deer and then took photos and videos mocking the animals. (Photo: Photo: TWRA)
Two Tennessee hunters have been banned from hunting in Tennessee and 43 other states after they illegally killed as many as 40 deer, and then took photos and videos mocking the animals.
Densibel Calazada, 23, and Eddy Albert, 21, received the harshest penalty ever issued by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
“We will never know how many deer these two killed, but we believe they could have poached at least 40,” said TWRA Sgt. Matt Brian. “We charged them with violations based on the strongest evidence we found showing the seriousness of their poaching crimes.”
Search warrants served by TWRA officers on Calazada and Albert’s homes produced cell phones where photos and videos were found of the two disrespecting the animals they had poached.
“They were getting on top of the deer and doing all sorts of things," said TWRA information officer Doug Markham. “They had one where the deer was still alive and they blew his head off. They were high-fiving each other after showing the hole where they had shot one at nighttime. I didn’t see all of the videos, but the officer said some of it was just really grotesque.”
Calazada and Albert, who could not be reached for comment, were charged with killing deer at night on private property and out of season.
Along with the lifetime ban, they also were ordered to pay $1,000 each in court costs, $5,000 in restitution, had their weapons — a rifle and a crossbow — confiscated, must perform 100 hours of community service for the TWRA and were placed on 18 months probation.
“People don’t understand what banning them for life does to them,” Markham said. “It destroys their ability to move around with a gun. If they get caught again, they could go to jail.”
The TWRA initially became aware of Calazada and Albert on Dec. 26 after receiving a call that they were trespassing on private land in Rutherford County.
Both were issued citations by the TWRA. Two days later, a Smyrna police officer stopped them and found beer and a dead deer in their truck.
“That’s when it all fell apart for (Calazada and Albert)," Markham said. “That’s when we started doing search warrants on their phone and their house and started finding stuff everywhere.”