A Michigan man is going to jail for 60 days after confessing to repeatedly sabotaging a hunter's tree stand.
23-year-old Thomas Steele of Chelsea recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanors of aggravated assault and hunter harassment in Marquette County Circuit Court, according to MLive. His hunting privileges were revoked for an undetermined amount of time, and his right to hunt will also be revoked in nearly all 50 states.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, it all began in October of 2020 when Steele started harassing another hunter due to a dispute over a tree stand on public land in Marquette County. The hunter arrived at his tree stand one day to find a note stating that he was set up in Steele's hunting spot. Steele also left his phone number on the note.
When the hunter called Steele, he initially agreed to stay off the land —even though you can't claim exclusive rights on public hunting land under Michigan law. Several weeks later, the hunter returned to the spot. When he stepped onto the platform of the stand, he immediately fell 15 to 20 feet to the ground. The hunter then reported the incident to DNR Conservation Officer Josh Boudreaux, who launched an investigation.
The hunter eventually returned to the spot and used new straps to set up his tree stand. Steele —who was using a camera to spy on the hunter— contacted him again. All the while, Boudreaux continued to closely monitor the situation until he acquired evidence of Steele cutting the victim's tree stand straps a second time. Steele also left threatening voicemails on the hunter’s phone and disparaged him on multiple local social media groups.