Do the crime, pay fine – but what is a deer worth?

LANSING — Is a 21-point trophy buck worth 25,000 bucks? Not according to poacher John Baker Jr. who was convicted of illegally shooting one on property belonging to Valhalla Ranch, a private hunting resort in Grayling. Maybe — or maybe not — according to the Court of Appeals, which upheld Baker’s criminal conviction and prison sentence but ordered a Crawford County Circuit Court judge to reconsider the amount of restitution he owes the ranch. Valhalla promotes itself as “a premier hunting destination, nestled in one of the most picturesque locations in Northern Michigan” and as “a place of incredible whitetails with massive antlers and body size.”

The tangled tale of the poached buck’s price tag — and Baker’s legal woes — began in October 2012 when he and another man were hunting on a friend’s land adjacent to the ranch. A 10-foot fence surrounds the ranch.