CHEBOYGAN -- Michigan State Police officials fired two troopers who "shined" and shot a deer while on duty, though their union is challenging the discipline.
Troopers Jeffrey Hadley and Donald Bolen, both formerly of the Cheboygan post, illegally killed a 10-point buck sometime after midnight Nov. 13, two days before the firearms deer season opener.
Bolen, 41, drove a state police Tahoe patrol vehicle and Hadley, 45, propped a rifle on the passenger door and shot the buck as it stood on private property along Mograin Road in Cheboygan County's Benton Township.
State police administrators fired the pair last month after reviewing an internal investigation, spokeswoman Shanon Akans said. Both will have a chance to challenge the firings at arbitration hearings scheduled for this week.
"We took as swift an action as we could," Akans said.
Michigan State Police Troopers Association President Mike Moorman said both will continue to receive pay pending arbitrators' decisions. The union doesn't believe they should be fired.
"Should there be some type of discipline? Of course," Moorman said. "Should it come at the cost of their jobs? No."
Hadley and Bolen used a saw to cut off the buck's head and antlers and threw the rest of the carcass into a railroad ditch, according to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigation.
Hadley later entered the ill-gotten antlers in a troopers' big buck contest, though the rack was disqualified because it didn't have a valid hunting tag attached.
Two anonymous tips led DNR officials to launch an investigation. Hadley told curious officers at the Cheboygan post that blood and hair found in his patrol vehicle belonged to a road-killed deer he took to a needy family.
Hadley and Bolen pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor conspiracy, poaching and trespass offenses, and were sentenced to four and two days in jail, respectively. Each also must pay $9,711 in fines, 89th District Court records show.
Hadley joined the state police in March 1996; Bolen enlisted in June 1997. Their only post assignments were in Cheboygan, Akans said.
Both were transferred to road patrol duty in the Upper Peninsula pending the outcome of the internal investigation.