In the field notes: Here’s a roundup of state outdoors news.
Mule Deer Trophies Seized in Poaching Raid
An Arizona man is facing jail time as a result of a multiyear investigation by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
According to a news release from the agency, investigators seized five mule deer trophies from Loren McReynolds’ Flagstaff home which they believe were unlawfully taken. Among the items seized were nontypical mule deer antlers, allegedly from a deer killed within Grand Canyon National Park.
“The trophy buck was believed to be a well-known resident deer that lived within the park and was very identifiable,” the agency said in the news release.
The findings came following an investigation by federal and state agencies into McReynolds’ hunting activities. Arizona Game and Fish said McReynolds has a history of alleged wildlife violations, including a January 2017 arrest on suspicions of killing federally protected burros north of Williams, Ariz.
“We have been working on this case for several years and all of the hard work finally paid off with the service of this search warrant,” Gene Elms, Law Enforcement Branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. said in the news release. “The department has received many complaints about McReynolds’ hunting activities over the years. Thanks to those individuals who came forward and the diligence of our investigators, we have the evidence to pursue criminal charges for McReynolds’ actions.”
The Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages anyone with information about the illegal take of wildlife to call the Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 352-0700 or visit www.azgfd.com/ogt. Cash rewards are possible.
‘Guarded Optimism’ As Early Teal Season Opens
The 16-day Texas early teal hunting season opens statewide Saturday with guarded optimism tempered by the reality that many waterfowlers along the coast are focusing on Hurricane Harvey recovery.
Hunting along the Texas coast typically accounts for about half the teal bagged during the early September season and conditions at many prime areas are inaccessible due to storm debris. Several wildlife management areas and state parks have canceled scheduled hunts, while others are delaying access until conditions improve. National wildlife refuges along the coast and in East Texas have also been impacted and are currently closed.
“I really wish I knew the full impacts of the storm on the upcoming teal season,” said Kevin Kraai, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Waterfowl Program Leader. “The coast, our most important teal hunting area, has been greatly impacted. Saltwater intrusion in the marsh and freshwater from flooding will likely cover and disperse a lot of the preferred foods and potentially make water depths too high for teal. The edge of the flooding will be where the teal will be. I just suspect most people along the coast will have their minds on other things this September and participation will be low.”
Secure Your Boat as Hurricane Irma Approaches
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is urging boat owners to secure their vessels leading up to expected arrival of Hurricane Irma this weekend. According to a new alert, the agency said:
- If it is not possible to remove the boat from the water and secure it, add extra ropes and tie the boat to several different places on the dock to keep cleats from pulling out. It is a good idea to add ropes to floating docks that are old and/or not sturdy to keep them from breaking away. Also inspect the ropes to make sure they are in good condition.
- It is the boat owner’s responsibility to have any boats or docks that are swept away removed from the water. SCDNR does not remove boats and docks from the water, and recommends boat owners choose reputable, insured businesses to do so should boat owners not be able to do so themselves. Do not try to retrieve a boat or dock during windy conditions.
“It is not worth risking your life or a first responder’s life over a boat or dock,” SCDNR 1st Sgt. Hunter Robinson said in the alert. “Wait until the storm has passed and the winds and waves have calmed down before venturing out on the water.”