DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. — A taxidermist faces charges after law enforcement say he took payment for work that he never completed.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Law Enforcement said the charges come after an investigation that began in August 2022.
During the investigation, conservation officers heard from hunters that said the owner of Buck Fever Taxidermy in Eaton took payment to mount or stuff their animals, but the work was never completed.
In some cases, conservation officers say the business had their animal for one or two years with no work being completed. Among the animals that people gave to the business were deer, turkeys and bears.
After the division had around 20 complaints, they worked together with the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges. On Wednesday, a search warrant and arrest warrant were served on Shawn Huntington, the business owner. He faces charges of corrupt business influence and multiple counts of theft.
Conservation officers say anyone who wants their property returned will need to attend one of two dates set for the exchange. They will need to bring any receipts, canceled checks or other items that may show ownership of an item, as well as a valid form of identification. If the owner of an item cannot make one of these dates in person, that individual may send a representative with the documentation.
People can retrieve their items from the Indiana Conservation Officers District 4 headquarters, located at 3734 Mounds Road in Anderson on Friday, January 13 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. or Saturday, January 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Any further restitution of money or damage to the items must be handled in a civil proceeding.
Conservation officers say people should reach out to other hunters or conservation officers before bringing their animal to a taxidermist to make sure it is reputable.
While taxidermists may have a backlog, if people believe a business is taking advantage of them they should contact the DNR at 812-837-9536 or by email at ICODispatch@dnr.IN.gov.