Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents when in the field — these game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.
No Mulligan for This One
New York conservation officer Dustin Dainack was called into a dispute between a college and a country club earlier this year.
Dainack was called by the SUNY-Purchase College in February concerning the destruction of around a dozen mature hardwood tree on campus property bordering Old Oaks Country Club. The private golf club had approached the college about leasing property to expand two tee boxes, but no deal was completed. Still, Old Oaks staff allegedly began to remove trees without permission.
This month, the college decided to press charges for timber theft, and on Aug. 8 ECO Dainack issued a summons to the country club for removing trees from the lands of another without permission.
New Eyes in the Skies
Texas game wardens are adding a new set of eyes in the sky — an Unmanned Aircraft System or UAS — they say will enhance their ability to quickly and safely surveil hard to access areas during natural disasters and search and rescue operations.
The new drone, a DJI Inspire 2, was donated through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s Gear Up for Game Wardens program, which has generated over $100,000 in private donations to fund purchases of specialized equipment for state game wardens.
“It will definitely be deployed during disaster events and search operations,” said Game Warden Pilot Lt. Brandon Rose. “We’re limited from using our helicopter and airplane if weather is bad. With this drone we may be able to search for missing persons in situations where we can’t use the manned aircraft. During those down times, this craft could be the difference maker in getting help and saving lives.”
It’s Not Your Sign
Earlier this summer, a Pecos County, Texas, game warden was checking public access points to the Pecos River. While patrolling under a bridge, the warden heard the sound of metal being cut by a power tool from above.
As he made his way back up he saw two men; one as a lookout while the other used a right angle grinder to try to cut down a road sign marking the Crockett County line.
Here’s the excuse:
“My last name is Crockett and I thought it would be cool to have the sign.”
The suspect later pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and received six month’s probation.
Trapping Ornery Badger
In Wyoming, South Riverton game warden Brad Gibb was on a badger search after several homeowners called to complain that the menacing animal was causing trouble in town.
The badger evaded Gibb and his traps and kept moving through the neighborhood, until there were reports it had been seen in many locations within a short period of time.
The officer was able to track the badger, capture it and move the ornery animal out of town.
“Although the badger gave many signs of being unhappy at being trapped, he is sure to find more suitable habitat outside of town,” the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said in a news release.