Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents in the field — from the serious, like poaching cases, to the ridiculous.
Here’s a roundup of recently reported poaching cases.
Out-of-State Poachers Plead Guilty
Two out-of-state men have now pleaded guilty to a November 2017 poaching of a mule deer buck in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Game & Fish Department said Jared Frasier of Suster, S.D, pleaded guilty on Aug. 9 as an accessory to intentionally taking a buck illegally. He was ordered to pay $6,555 in fines and restitution.
The other suspect, Forrest Schramm of Hot Springs, S.D., pleaded guilty in April to killing the buck, using an illegal firearm cartridge for the taking of big game, and shooting from a public road. He was assessed $9,525 in fines and restitution, and forfeited a Remington .22-250 rifle with a Zeiss scope.
Both men also lost their privilege to hunt, fish or trap in Wyoming and 46 other Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact states for three years.
The pleas stem from a Nov. 2, 2017, case in which an anonymous caller alerted a Wyoming game warden that the men had shot a buck on School Creek Road near Wright, in the Deer Hunt Area 10. The mule deer season in that area had closed on Oct. 16.
The next day, games wardens investigated the area, heard a gunshot and saw a vehicle matching the anonymous caller’s report. After stopped and interviewed by wardens, the men admitted to trying to shoot a mule deer.
Schramm accompanied a game warden to the scene, where a buck mule deer he shot was found paralyzed in the snow. Game warden Dustin Kirsch euthanized the animal and placed Schramm under arrest. Frasier was later arrested for his involvement.
The investigation concluded that the buck had been shot by Schramm and had laid in the area since the day before. Puncture wounds, presumably from another buck, were also found on the buck’s carcass.
Holy King Mackerel
On July 14, Texas game wardens in Brazoria County investigating an Operation Game Thief crimestoppers call about a violation of over the daily bag/possession limit of king mackerel made a shocking discovery.
The tipster claimed a group of five was stockpiling king mackerel in a boat storage facility in Freeport. Armed with description of the suspects’ vehicles and boats, wardens began checking vessels near the Freeport Jetties and came across a boat that fit the description.
The occupants were in possession of king mackerel in excess of the daily limit, and while escorting them back to the boat ramp, the wardens made contact with the other culprits.
The suspects were brought to the commercial boat storage, where wardens gained access to a unit that contained 30 king mackerel stuffed into a freezer, in addition to the 16 king mackerel the five fisherman had on board both vessels. After lengthy interviews, several citations were written to the five individuals for exceeding their possession limit of king mackerel. The cases and civil restitution are pending. — From Texas Game Wardens Field Notes
Illegal Cast-Netting Results in Charges
Several people were ticketed for illegal fishing during one New York conservation officer’s patrol at the Mohawk River near Utica. In all, more than 50 illegal fish were found., and charges included undersized fish, over the daily limit for bass and illegal fishing methods.
On Aug. 5, office Rob Howe first noticed a man fishing with a cast net (which is illegal) and later found in his possession 18 illegally caught sunfish and eight under-sized black bass, half of which were under 3 inches long.
Howe check another group of people who had under-sized fish, and then a another man, who also had a cast net and a bag of under-sized fish, including 34 bass.
‘Patches’ Soon to Be on Display
A unique piebald deer that was poached nearly three years ago in the Cherokee/Adair County area will become a permanent display, according to a Facebook post by Oklahoma Game Wardens. Nicknamed “Patches” due to its coloration, the animal was poached in the fall of 2015 and an arrest was made. According to the agency’s post:
“This buck was stolen from the sportsmen and women of our state when it was taken illegally. The buck is now in the process of becoming a permanent part of a display that will be part of the ODWC headquarters remodel in Oklahoma City. The entire public will be able to enjoy this unique buck when the headquarters building re-opens late this year.”