KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A former reality TV personality faces 10 charges related to illegal deer hunting in Kalamazoo County.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said 55-year-old Scott Meisterheim was arraigned earlier this month on three counts of transporting/possessing untagged antlered white-tailed deer, two counts of breaking the limit of white-tailed deer, two counts of using another person’s hunting license, two counts of hunting white-tailed deer without a license, and one count of taking a white-tailed deer outside of lawful hunting hours.
Meisterheim gained notoriety after he was featured on three seasons of Discovery Channel’s “Bering Sea Gold” — a show that followed groups of dredgers searching the deep waters of Alaska for gold.
A DNR spokesperson says conservation officers were tipped off last February to Meisterheim’s alleged illegal activities between October and December 2021.
Investigators found evidence that suggested Meisterheim took at least 11 deer between early October and Christmas Eve 2021, including three that he claimed were killed in the first week of archery season. However, two of those deer were rejected by a processor because they were “spoiled.”
Investigators claim Meisterheim was hunting without a license, using illegal bait and using deer tags obtained by other people. He is also accused of hunting on several properties across Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties without permission.
“This is an excellent investigation of a poacher who shows no respect for the resource or the ethics of fair chase,” DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Dave Shaw said in a release. “Violations of this type deprive law-abiding people of their opportunity to have access to and enjoy a public trust natural resource.”
When a conservation officer spoke with Meisterheim at the Kalamazoo County Jail, where he was being held at the time for domestic abuse, he reportedly admitted he “is not the most ethical hunter … but I don’t care. I am addicted to the venison.”
“Sure, I love to kill deer,” Meisterheim also told the officer. “If I could kill more I would, to be honest with you.”
When asked why he was in possession of so many deer, the suspect told DNR investigators that “injured deer would stumble to and die near his hunting location.”
Meisterheim, who is currently serving 18 months probation for aggravated domestic assault, is due back in court in February for a hearing on the poaching charges.