Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents in the field — these Game Warden Stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.
What follows is a roundup of incidents, cases and results of the work of game wardens across the country.
7 Indicted in Poaching Case
After a long investigation that included game wardens from multiple states, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced the indictments of seven people suspected in a poaching enterprise with illegal kills of white-tailed deer and wild turkey.
The agency said in a news release, the crimes were allegedly committed from 2006 to 2017 and spanned across Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
The men face several felonies and misdemeanor charges.
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Nathan Cline of Steubenville, Ohio, faces 43 counts, including felony 2nd degree engaging in pattern of corrupt activity and fourth-degree felony grand theft.
Among other charged with felonies were Robby Gilbert, New Freeport, Pa. (4 felony counts, 14 misdemeanors) and Marlon Hale, Irondale, Ohio (6 felonies, 16 misdemeanors). The four others face misdemeanor charges.
Addition Not His Best Subject
Game wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Marine Theft Investigation Unit recently handled a boat registration fraud case in which a boat owner tried to register his boat that was worth a whole lot more than he said. While attempting to register, the man claimed he purchased the boat and motor for $700, which caused red flags.
A game warden contacted the seller, who said the man paid $7,500, then contacted the lien holder, which verified the man borrowed $7,500. From Texas Parks and Wildlife:
“The warden then went to the buyer’s house and as he pulled up he observed a nice bass boat in the garage and the subject sitting in the driver’s seat. The warden greeted the man, admired the boat and asked out of curiosity how much he had paid for the vessel. Unaware as to the reason for the visit, the proud new boat owner told the warden he bought it for $7,500. He then changed his story to $700. The warden then asked him how much the Credit Union had given him for the boat and he replied $7,500.”
The man admitted to providing the false information and agreed to pay the remaining taxes and penalties.
Oh, Deer, That’s Just Wrong
Also in Texas, Comal County game wardens responded to a report regarding illegal hunting. It was early February, well after the close of the deer season.
A man called to report hearing several small-caliber rounds from a neighboring property and that he believed someone was hunting out of season.
Game wardens visited the neighbor and discovered two deer carcasses. The property owner said he shot the deer with his .22 because they kept eating shrubs and ornamental plants. He said he let the carcasses rot in the back of the property because he believed if he didn’t harvest the meat he wouldn’t be breaking the law.
Um, that’s not the case, the warden said, and cited the man for several violations.
Too Much Mud
On Feb. 26, New York conservation officers stopped a logging project that had turned a tributary stream to the Susquehana River into a “muddy mess.” The officers were responding to a complain of a logging company was muddying the stream as it ran log skitters across the streambed.
The company said the mats that bridged the stream sunk into the streambed.
“With only a couple of days left before completion of the job, the loggers made the unfortunate decision to continue work as usual and, as a result, turned the stream into a thick, muddy mess.,” the New York Department of Environmental Conservation reported in a news release.
The project was stopped until the problem can be remedied. The company face possible water quality standards charges.