Judge sentences deer poacher to watch 'Bambi' once a month

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A judge in the USA state of Missouri has sentenced a prolific poacher to repeat screenings of Bambi, the Walt Disney classic weepy about a fawn whose mother is slain by a hunter.

Berry, along with three family members, was busted by police following a multi-year poaching investigation, which saw the gang target young bucks.

A Missouri judge turned to Disney for inspiration for a hunter's punishment after he pleaded guilty to contributing to the illegal killing of hundreds of deer.

Fox 8 News reports that Berry will watch the movie at least 12 times during his incarceration.

Court records show he was ordered by Lawrence County Judge Robert George to "view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter" while at the county jail. It isn't clear at this time why David Berry Jr.is getting the additional jail time and the Bambi sentence, but it is more than likely a result from violating his probation with a felony firearm possession.

Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Don Trotter says the deer were killed for their heads, with their bodies left to rot.

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After pleading guilty, Berry Jr. was sentenced to one year in jail in Lawrence County on December 6, according to a news release.

In the 1942 film, Bambi is orphaned when his mother is shot and killed by a hunter. Berry's three family members collectively served 33 days in jail for their charges, the News-Leader reported.

David Homer Berry, 29, was among a group of poachers, which included his father and brothers, that state regulators say was one of the biggest poaching cases ever in Missouri.

Conservation agents have called the case one of the largest related to deer poaching in the state's history.

"In situations like this, with serial poachers who have no regard for the animals, rules of fair chase, or aren't bothered by the fact that they're stealing from others, it's all about greed and ego", said Randy Doman, MDC Protection Division Chief. In total, the other co-conspirators faced a litany of charges and paid almost US$200,000 (NZ$293,000) in bonds and fines and served 33 days in jail, according to the department of conservation.