Wildlife officers — or game wardens — face a myriad of incidents when in the field. Unfortunately, that includes poaching.
These game warden stories on recent poaching cases range from a big fine and jail time for one man to a made-up story on kids and their BB guns. Compiled from staff and agency reports.
’That’s [Not] the Buck!’
Game wardens set up surveillance with a deer decoy in an area in Sabine County, Texas, prone to night-time poaching, when around 1 a.m. a truck passed by and a voice was heard shouting, “That’s the buck!” The truck turned around and approached to the area where the decoy was set up.
The driver then allegedly shot at the decoy with a rifle, hitting it in the neck. The truck sped away when it was realized the “buck” was a fake.
Three people in the truck were apprehended. The driver faces charges of Hunting from a Vehicle, Hunting at Night and Hunting with an Artificial Light.
Read more Texas Game Wardens Field Notes
8 Whitetails Found Shot Dead, Abandoned
Wyoming Game and Fish Department is investigating a case involving eight white-tailed deer found shot dead and abandoned in an area west of Wheatland earlier this week. The deer were all does and fawns, the agency reported in a news alert.
The deer were found in a private hay meadow along Sybille Creek Road near Highway 34. Wardens believe the deer were most likely killed during the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 22.
If you have info: Stop Poaching Tip Line, 1-877-WGFD-TIP (877)-943-3847 or (307) 777-4330 for out-of-state calls; or online by clicking here.
You’ll Put An Eye Out With That
A group of dove hunters, suspected of being 60 doves over the limit for a weekend in Maverick County, Texas, blamed the excess birds on the kids. Game wardens saw the group taking pictures of their doves at a roadside park, so they stopped to talk, and found the over-the-limit birds. Wardens were told the two young boys with the group also shot a limit each day.
Problem is, wardens found out, the boys only had BB guns. Cases were pending.
Read more Texas Game Wardens Field Notes
6-Figure Fine, Jail in Wanton Destruction Case
A Wyoming man was sentenced Oct. 17 to fines, restitution and jail time in a huge case that included the discovery of more than 100 white-tail deer carcasses last year. Gregg Lambdin pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to several charges, included nine felonies for “wanton destruction of big game animals,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department said in a news release. In a plea agreement with the Sheridan County Attorney’s Office, Lambdin faces $110,000 in fines, $144,000 in restitution and nine months in jail. He will serve his jail sentence in the Sheridan County Detention Center.
“It is likely the largest poaching case in Wyoming history in terms of penalties against a single individual,” Game and Fish Sheridan Regional Wildlife Supervisor Craig Smith said.
Charges against Lambdin were filed in February, after a two-month investigation by Game and Fish law enforcement that began in late 2018. Officers acted on a tip about illegal activity on Lambdin’s property and began surveillance. An officer saw several carcasses on the property and also witnessed Lambdin shoot a deer. A search warrant was served in November and the search discovered 113 white-tailed deer carcasses in varying stages of decomposition. One antelope also was found.
The restitution imposed will be placed into a fund used by the Game and Fish Commission to purchase access easements to provide access to public and private lands.
Duck From the Driver’s Seat
New York conservation officers were working salmon detail on the Genesee River near Rochester, when the Rochester Police Department reported a man had allegedly shot and killed a mallard duck from his vehicle at Seneca Park on Oct. 10.
Ducks were not in season, the man didn’t have a hunting license, and now he faces multiple charges: hunting waterfowl out of season, hunting wildlife from a motor vehicle, hunting wildlife from a public highway, discharging a firearm across a public highway, hunting waterfowl by means not specified (rifle), possession of a loaded long gun in a motor vehicle, hunting without a state small game hunting license, and Illegal taking of waterfowl. The Monroe County Sheriff's Department also issued a ticket for hunting in a county park.
Read more New York Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights