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Antler Poachers, Naked Wanted Man, Secret-Note Tip

Here's a look at recent cases conservation officers faced in the field all across the nation.

Game Warden Stories: Antler Poachers, Naked Wanted Man, Secret-Note Tip
Game Warden Stories (Shutterstock image)

Antler Poachers Sentenced, Fined

A Jackson, Wy., man was sentenced to 20 days in jail, and lost his hunting and fishing privileges for three years for antler hunting during closed season. The Wyoming Department of Game & Fish said the man, who had been caught in 2017 for similar violations on Forest Service lands adjacent to the National Elk Refuge, also paid $1,110 in fines.

Game warden Kyle Lash caught the man in March for violating the winter range closure and stashing elk antlers at the South Park Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) and elk feed ground. The South Park WHMA and the gathering of antlers were both closed at the time.

He wasn’t the only antler poacher caught, according to a news release. Lash caught another man on the morning of May 1 — antler hunting opened at noon of that day — while the man was carrying, and concealing, antlers. He was fined $435.

Also, game warden Jon Stephens cited two individuals for antler hunting on April 26 in the Gros Ventre drainage north of Jackson during the closed season. One of the men pleaded guilty to the offense, paid a $435 fine and lost his hunting and fishing privileges for one year. The second case is still pending.

From the agency:

"The antler hunting regulation prohibits the gathering of shed antlers from January 1 through April 30 on all public lands in the designated closure (primarily west of the Continental Divide). The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission enacted the regulation after considerable public input in the fall of 2009. … The purpose of the seasonal closures are to minimize harassment or disturbance of big game animals on their winter and spring ranges when animals are most vulnerable to stress and displacement to less productive habitats."

Bare Necessities

From Texas Parks & Wildlife — While patrolling near Lake Sam Rayburn, a Sabine County game warden noticed a naked man running across the road from the water into a makeshift tent. The man soon emerged wearing an oversized pair of pants. The warden then contacted dispatch, who advised that the subject was wanted on three felony warrants out of Sabine County. The man’s actions and demeanor led the warden to ask a female subject with the man for consent to search their vehicle,  coinbut was denied. A canine officer was called and upon arriving to the scene quickly alerted to the presence of narcotics. Meth, along with the man’s wallet, was located inside a pair of pants in a bookbag found in the bed of the truck. He was arrested and taken to Sabine County Jail. The case is pending.

Secret Note Reals Poaching Activity

A month-long investigation into a deer-poaching complaint conducted by a Virginia conservation officer led to possible charges, but only after some persistence by the officer. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries reported CPO Wayne Billhimer completed the investigation on June 22, after the complaint was filed in May in Elkton. That’s when Billhimer found a cooler containing a butchered deer in the front yard of a residence.

The officer interviewed four males who lived at the resident, but all four denied knowing anything about the deer.

However, one of the males provided a secret tip.

"A suspect on probation, slipped Officer Billhimer a name and phone number on a piece of paper as he verbally said in front of his friends, 'I don't know anything,’ " the agency said in a news release.

The info led to a name and phone number, and the officer made several attempts to call the suspect, and had to leave several voicemails. Eventually, the phone was answered, and the suspect agreed to meet the officer. At first, the suspect told a false story that the deer was road kill, but then admitted to the crime.


"Several poachers were riding back roads between midnight and 2 a.m. spotlighting in Rockingham County. Shinning a light along the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. They shot the deer with a .22 from a public road using a handheld light from the vehicle," the agency reported.

Charges are expected for illegal possession of wildlife and using a spotlight to hunt.

He Didn’t Want Deer 'Hanging Around'

A man charged with shooting a deer with a 9mm handgun on June 8 and leaving it wounded was recently caught in Roanoke County, Va. When he confessed to the violation, he said "he did not want any deer hanging around because he thought they would attract coyotes or a bear," according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. His explanation did not prevent charges.

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