A tiber rattlesnake guards its babies. Image credit: Kyle Fawcett

Correction: A previous version of this story listed an incorrect restitution amount.

The Trout Run man found snake-bitten in a port-a-potty last May recently was sentenced for selling rattlesnakes, cutting off their tails, and beheading prized bucks at a private hunting preserve.

Cody L. Short, 41, violated the rules and regulations of the PA Fish and Boat and Game Commissions in 2017, 2018 and 2019, court records show. 

For three different criminal cases, Short was sentenced by Lycoming County President Judge Nancy L. Butts to an aggregate term of six years supervision with one year of electronic home monitoring, 150 hours community service, and $100,000 restitution to be paid in $300-per-month installments.

"Cody did wrong here, but he also has significant, documented mental health issues," said Public Defender Matthew B. Welickovitch.

Welickovitch represented Short and negotiated his restitution amount from $138,000 to $100,000. 

"The hope is that the house arrest and probation will help him in his treatment and keep him from reverting to bad behavior," Welickovitch said.

On at least two occasions during the fall/winter of 2017, Short hopped a fence at night and entered the Whitetail Mountain Lodge in Anthony Township, Lycoming County, state police at Montoursville Trooper Matthew Miller wrote.

The Whitetail Mountain Lodge is an 800-acre parcel of fenced-in hunting land in owned by Richard E. Yingst Jr.

Yingst found 12 beheaded deer carcasses on his property in December 2017. Short admitted to using a .223 rile to shoot deer he did not pay for, Miller said. 

"The deer are valued at a total of $138,000," Miller wrote.

For that crime, Short pleaded guilty to one third degree felony count criminal mischief, two third degree felony counts theft by unlawful taking, two first degree misdemeanor counts possessing the instrument of a crime, and two third degree misdemeanor counts of aggravated trespass on posted land.

Short must pay Yingst $100,000 restitution in $300-per-month installments, court records stated.

In June 2018, Short sold 11 timber rattlesnakes for $900 to an undercover officer from the PA Fish & Boat Commission, according to Waterways Conservation Officer Emmett Kyler III.

"Short stated he not only eats the snakes, but also sells them. Short stated he gets $5 per inch for the big yellow ones and $3 to $4 per inch for the other ones," Keller wrote in an affidavit.

A search warrant of Short's cabin uncovered 22 timber rattlesnakes during a closed season ranging from 27 to 48 1/2 inches, Keller said.

For that crime, Short pleaded guilty to one count of second degree misdemeanor serious unlawful taking - more than daily limit of rattlesnakes.

On May 24, 2019, state police responded to the report of an individual identified as Cody L. Short that had been bitten multiple times by rattlesnakes inside a port-a-potty at a cabin in Cogan House Township. 

Kyler, of the Fish and Boat Commission, was called in to assist with the snakes.

"Upon receiving a consent search for the property, I located (6) Timber Rattlesnakes inside a green port-a-potty with (5) having severed tails above the rattles and bleeding severely," Kyler wrote.

Six freshly-cut rattlesnake tails were found on a bench inside Short's cabin, Kyler said.

After being bitten by rattlesnakes, Short lost his left leg, court documents show.

For that crime, Short pleaded guilty to one second degree misdemeanor count of serious unlawful taking. 

Shorts was sentenced by President Judge Butts on May 8, 2020.

Related reading:

Trout Run man accused of cutting rattlesnake tails waives preliminary hearing