Skip to main content

Game Warden Stories: Charges in Dog Attack on Fawn, Milestone Sturgeon

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

Game Warden Stories: Charges in Dog Attack on Fawn, Milestone Sturgeon

Research interns from Cornell University's Biological Field Station at Shackleton Point pose with a 139-pound lake sturgeon caught and released in Oneida Lake on June 19, 2019. (Photo courtesy Thomas E. Brooking, Cornell University Biological Field Station/New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

Wildlife officers — or game wardens — face a myriad of incidents when in the field.

These game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.

Compiled from staff and agency reports.

Charges Filed in Case of Dog Attack on Fawn

In what was called a “disturbing case” in Colorado, a New Mexico man is accused of allowing his dog to kill a deer fawn, then posting images of the kill on social media.


Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced in a July 29 press release that Michael Garcia, 36, of Las Cruces, N,.M., has been charged with several wildlife crimes, including illegal possession of wildlife, allowing his dog to harass wildlife and unlawful manner of taking of wildlife.


Fines for the offenses are $1,372.50 and an assessment of 20 license-suspension points.

Investigators say Garcia was in the Conejos River area, in Southern Colorado, when his dog chased and killed a fawn. Garcia allegedly posted photos and video of the dog and dead animal on social media, which prompted a tipster to call Operation Game Thief, and CPW began to investigate. Garcia was located and interviewed by Wildlife Officer Rod Ruybalid, who issued the citation.

Garcia, a fishing guide on the Conejos, issued an apology last week on Facebook, according to Fox News 31 in Denver. That post has since been taken down, but in it, he said he “messed up.”

Garcia may pay the fine or appear in court on Sept. 16. In addition, he will also be issued 20 license-suspension points, meaning he must appear before a CPW suspension-hearing officer. This is a separate process that could result in the suspension of license privileges from one to five years. Only the Parks and Wildlife Commission has the authority to impose suspensions.


“This is a disturbing case; we’ve heard from many members of the public wanting CPW to investigate,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for CPW in the San Luis Valley. “Information that they’ve provided has been greatly helpful to CPW efforts.”

Wildlife crimes can be reported anonymously to Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Those who report are eligible for a cash reward if the tip results in the issuance of a ticket or a conviction.

Caught Sturgeon Huge Milestone for Stocking Program

Restoration of lake sturgeon in New York’s Oneida Lake reached a major milestone recently when a 72.9-inch, 139-pound sturgeon was caught by researchers.


The large sturgeon, estimated to be 20 years old, was one of 11 caught in a single day earlier this summer. Once captured, biologists sedated the sturgeon, measured and weighed the fish, took samples to determine age, tagged it, and allowed the fish to recover before releasing it.

Fisheries researchers have been working under a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-funded contract at Cornell University's Biological Field Station at Shackleton Point.

"This catch is great news for New York's lake sturgeon recovery program," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. "The 139-pound sturgeon is the largest recorded from Oneida Lake since stocking began and it's an encouraging sign that efforts to recover this ancient fish, listed as a threatened species in New York since 1983, are working.”

DEC began stocking lake sturgeon in Oneida Lake in 1995, to reverse past devastating losses due to overfishing and damming of rivers, which are critical spawning habitats. Since then, DEC has stocked almost 11,000 sturgeon in Oneida Lake. Before the stocking program began, the lake sturgeon population throughout the Great Lakes region was estimated at one percent of historic levels.


Read the Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan

Checkpoint Nabs Violators

GameWarden
Conservation Officer Matt Burgess and his black lab K9 Cruz assisted in a vehicle checkpoint that issued 30 citations. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources photo)

Utah Conservation officer Matt Burgess and his black lab K9 Cruz assisted in a recent vehicle checkpoint near Strawberry Reservoir, checking for licenses, and fish size and limits. They and 14 other officers stopped 254 vehicles, issued 30 citations and seized 47 illegal fish. The fish were donated to a food bank.

“Cruz was instrumental in finding fish and was able to locate their odor on one of the vehicle door handles during a stop,” Burgess said. “It’s always amazing watching him work and seeing how instrumental he is in helping us do our jobs to protect Utah’s wildlife.”

Click for more from Utah

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever Ammo

Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever

Richard Mann - October 27, 2020

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From tumblers to bottles to flasks (and even clever bottle openers), we've rounded up some of the best bar gear for the outdoors.Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup The Deck

Ultimate Outdoor Bar Gear Roundup

Chelsie Walters and Jessyca Sortillon - August 31, 2020

In need of a rugged container to sip from in the backcountry? We've got you covered. From...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.12 Great Catfish Baits Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

See More Trending Articles

More Conservation & Politics

By just about anyone's account, 2020 has been a year unlike any other.The Year the Second Amendment Strikes Back Conservation & Politics

The Year the Second Amendment Strikes Back

Larry Keane - October 14, 2020

By just about anyone's account, 2020 has been a year unlike any other.

Hunters brought wildlife back from the brink of extinction, and now we must manage surpluses.When Is Conservation Too Successful? Conservation & Politics

When Is Conservation Too Successful?

Andrew McKean - October 29, 2020

Hunters brought wildlife back from the brink of extinction, and now we must manage surpluses.

See More Conservation & Politics

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now