Game Warden Stories: Magnet Fishing, Christmas Poaching, Reckless Endangerment

Game Warden Stories: Magnet Fishing, Christmas Poaching, Reckless Endangerment
Photo courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents when in the field. These game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.

NEW YORK 

Men Who Injured Officer Charged

Two men have been arrested stemming from a late-July incident in which a New York  wildlife officer was injured. 

The Department of Environmental Conservation and Niagara County District Attorney's Office said James J. Olscamp and Dean R. Banks face a list of charges connected to the July 22 incident.

On that date, conversation officer Shea Mathis attempted to stop the men who were reportedly riding their ATV and UTV on private land in the town of Wheatfield. Authorities say Banks, on the ATV, nearly ran over Banks while fleeing. Olscamp allegedly dragged the officer who tried to place him under arrest. 

Mathis was dragged 400 feet, sustaining cuts and bruises to his legs and arms and an injury to his forehead.

Olscamp has been charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence (both felonies), as well as obstruction and trespassing.

Banks was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, obstruction and trespassing.

Read more about this case

"Magnet Fishing" items collected. (Photo courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

WYOMING

'Magnet Fishing' Investigated

A Wyoming game warden came upon an unusual sight while on patrol at East Newton Lake.

The couple was apparently "magnet fishing" — tossing out a large magnet tied to a rope and dragging it back to collect metallic things dropped into the water.

"When I first saw the couple, I thought they might be illegally fishing by snagging and keeping fish," North Cody game warden Travis Crane said in a Wyoming Game and Fish Department news release. "Turns out, they were magnet fishing, which has nothing to do with catching fish. ...  They had collected old lures, boat parts, hooks, knives and even a shuriken." 

Interesting.

TEXAS

It Looked Like a Good Fishing Hole 

A Harris County, Texas, game warden was checking for saltwater fishing violations from the shoreline when he observed two men fishing underneath the Texas Highway 146 Bridge in an area clearly marked with "No Trespassing" signs.

Upon contact, the warden could smell the odor of marijuana. The subjects were asked for fishing licenses; neither possessed one. When asked if they had any weapons or illegal narcotics on them, one of the subjects hesitated and glanced down at his front waistline. Suspecting a weapon, the warden placed the individual in handcuffs for safety, and conducted a pat down search, which revealed a semi-automatic pistol with the serial numbers scratched out.

The warden also discovered a small amount of marijuana. Upon further investigation, the warden discovered that one of the men possessed a fake resident card as well as a fake social security card. U.S. Customs and Border Protection was contacted to confirm the status of the individuals. One subject was arrested for unlawful carrying of a weapon. Felony charges are pending with Customs as well as deportation, pending trial. — From Texas Parks & Wildlife

Read more Texas Game Warden Field Notes 

NEW MEXICO

Two Men Sentenced for Christmas Poaching 

Two New Mexico men received probation and were ordered to pay more than $2,700 in fines and court fees after pleading guilty to killing mule deer out of season late last year near Lovington. 

The sentencing were the result of a tip from the public about a deer poaching on  Christmas Day 2017. The tipster reported the deer had been butchered and was buried near an oil rig in Lea County.

The investigation led to the suspects, who admitted to killing more than one mule deer each — two does and a forked antler buck.

Read more about this case

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