Update: Osceola County deer farm/ranch owner pleaded no contest to DNR charges

Contact: : Lt. Joe Molnar, 231-775-9727
Agency: Natural Resources

July 30, 2019

The owner of two privately owned cervid (POC) facilities in Osceola County, Michigan, reappeared in court last week for sentencing related to 11 arrest warrants resulting from a Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigation.  

Facility owner Ryan Hopkins, 42, of Sears, Michigan, pleaded no contest to four of the 11 counts, including:

  • Failure to maintain facility standard fencing.
  • Failure to submit annual inventories.
  • Failure to comply with individual animal identification.
  • Operating an unregistered facility.

The judge in the Osceola County 77th Judicial District assessed Hopkins to pay $5,275 in fines and court costs for the four counts. The remaining seven counts were dismissed per a plea deal with the prosecutor’s office.  

POC facilities are also known as “deer farms.” Hopkins Trophy Whitetails, which operates both a breeding facility and a ranch in Sears, offers paying clients the opportunity to hunt whitetail deer.

Hopkins’ history of violations includes failure to:

  • Maintain facility fencing standards and inspection records.
  • Submit annual inventory reports.
  • Maintain records of appropriate disposal of deer.
  • Meet animal tagging requirements.
  • Produce records at the request of law enforcement.
  • Comply with disease testing standards.
  • Properly register two facilities.
  • Properly report deer escapes.

Read the original May press release.

If you witness or suspect a natural resource violation, call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline, available 24/7, at 800-292-7800. Learn more about Michigan’s conservation officers at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.