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State

3 hunters plead guilty to poaching in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois' Department of Natural Resources is heralding the conviction of three hunters in what it describes as one of the state's biggest deer-poaching cases.

The department's conservation police chief, Rafael Gutierrez, said Wednesday that the convictions demonstrate authorities "will bring violators to justice." The three were arrested in 2011 on suspicion of poaching two dozen deer. All have now pleaded guilty.

Most recently, 46-year-old Christopher Kiernan of Minooka pleaded guilty on April 5 in a Grundy County court to multiple charges. That included the unlawful take of a 36-point deer. He must pay $10,000 in restitution. His hunting equipment was seized and he can't hunt for at least two years. No one answered Wednesday at a residential phone number for Kiernan.

The other men pleaded guilty earlier.

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