By Joe Beck
A Shenandoah County sheriff's deputy has resigned during a departmental investigation into charges of illegal hunting, Sheriff Tim Carter said Tuesday.
Carter said the deputy, Justin Jenkins, 26, resigned after facing two charges of hunting and trapping without a license. Carter said Jenkins was not forced to resign or given any ultimatums.
Capt. K.C. Clarke of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said his agency filed the charges after taking up the investigation at the request of the sheriff's office. Clarke said investigators from his agency determined that Jenkins had killed a deer and checked in with game officials, but had done so as a landowner.
Clarke said authorities determined that Jenkins was not a landowner or a renter. State law allows landowners or renters to hunt on their property without a license, but Jenkins did not meet the landowning or renting requirement, Clarke said.
Maj. Scott Proctor of the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office said the offense was committed while Jenkins was hunting west of Toms Brook in the Mount Olive area on Nov. 23. Proctor said a local state conservation officer had obtained information about the alleged offense and passed it on to the sheriff's office.
Proctor said the sheriff's office asked the department of game and inland fisheries to handle the investigation because the state agency had received the initial complaint and, as an agency independent of Shenandoah County, faced no conflict of interest in the case.
Proctor said the department's own internal investigation into the case ended when Jenkins resigned.
State court records show Jenkins is scheduled to appear in general district court at 10 a.m. Dec. 10.
Jenkins is the fourth deputy in the Northern Shenandoah Valley to resign in the last month in the aftermath of hunting violation charges.
Three deputies in Warren County resigned and two paid fines for violations related to illegal hunting. A third deputy under investigation was cleared of wrongdoing, but also resigned.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com