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Man Sentenced in Ohio Walleye Tournament Scandal Accused of Poaching Deer in Pennsylvania

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Man Sentenced in Ohio Walleye Tournament Scandal Accused of Poaching Deer in Pennsylvania

Posted 2023-11-08  by  Stephanie Mallory

Chase Cominsky is charged with eight wildlife crimes involving white-tailed deer

One of the two men who were charged with cheating in an effort to win thousands of dollars during a walleye fishing tournament on Lake Erie in Ohio is now facing charges for poaching deer in Pennsylvania.

Chase Cominsky, 36, of Hermitage was sentenced in May after he and Jacob Runyan of Ashtabula, Ohio, were caught stuffing fish with lead weights and fish fillets in an attempt to win the tournament. Now, Cominsky has been charged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission with eight wildlife crimes in Mercer County, all involving white-tailed deer.

According to the Sharon Herald, game wardens received allegations that Cominsky had taken several antlered whitetails either after legal shooting hours or during closed season and without a valid license between 2013 and 2021. Cominsky’s hunting privileges in Pennsylvania were suspended during that period.

Charges involve unlawful killing or possession of game and unlawful acts on licenses, tagging, and reporting of big game kills.

The Sharon Herald reports that authorities discovered five antlered whitetail heads in Cominksy’s living room that had been mounted between 2013 and 2021. Officials claim three were illegally tagged with another person's name.

A preliminary hearing is set for November 14 on the Pennsylvania charges. The attorney who represented Cominsky in the walleye tournament case told The (Toledo) Blade that he would not be representing him in the Pennsylvania case.

After pleading guilty in March 2023 to cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals, Cominsky and Runyan were sentenced in Ohio in May 2023 to 10-day jail terms. Cominsky also agreed to give up his bass boat worth $100,000. In addition to being fined, the men agreed to three-year suspensions of their fishing licenses.

Their cheating attempts came to light in September 2022 when Jason Fischer, Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament director, noticed that the fish they turned in were significantly heavier than typical walleye. As a crowd of people at Gordon Park in Cleveland watched, Fischer cut open the walleye to discover weights and walleye fillets stuffed inside.

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