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Game Warden Stories: Injured Officer Case, Fish Dumpers, New K-9s

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

Game Warden Stories: Injured Officer Case, Fish Dumpers, New K-9s

Utah conservation officers Matt Burgess and his 15-month-old male black Labrador retriever, Cruz, and Josh Carver and his male chocolate Lab, Carlo, recently finished an intensive 9-week training course in Patoka Lake, Indiana. READ MORE (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources photo)

Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents when in the field. These game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.

Fish Dumpers Caught in the Act

Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers seized 272 pounds of illegal fish and the gear used to catch them in Buzzard’s Bay.

Officers were on patrol on June 9 and came across a boat with seven passengers actively fishing.

It became clear they were up to no good when the patrol boat steered their way — the passengers began dumping fish overboard.


According to an MEP report on Facebook,  officers found the suspected poachers with 89 black sea bass and 157 scup — 64 of the bass and seven scup were outside the legal limit. Many of the fish were undersized.


All aboard were charged with possession of black sea bass over the legal limit, possession of undersized black sea bass, possession of scup over the legal limit, possession of undersized scup, and failure to display catch. Two suspects were additionally cited for fishing without a license.

Officers seized the catch — weighing 272 pounds — as well as all gear, coolers and buckets onboard.

Warden Just Follows the Clues

(From Texas Game Wardens Field NotesLast month in Nacogdoches County, Texas, game wardens received a call from a car dealership with some interesting information about what was found in one of their loaner vehicles after it had been impounded by police. The man who rented the car had been arrested for shoplifting. While inspecting the car, the dealership noted a bullet hole in the driver’s side mirror, deer hair, rangefinder and empty packaging for a spotlight in the trunk. The warden also learned a rifle was found by police.

The warden interviewed the man, who eventually confessed to poaching a deer, but the officer still had questions, mainly about the bullet hole in the car. After further investigation, the man’s girlfriend admitted to shooting a deer with a .22 rifle while the boyfriend held a spotlight — her first shot hit the mirror.


The couple reportedly dumped the carcass.

Numerous cases are pending.

Hitchhiking Mussels Thwarted By Tip

(From Texas Game Wardens Field Notes) In May, a Travis County game warden received a call about multiple barges covered in zebra mussels being transported from the Sandy Creek boat ramp. The barge rental company was identified and contacted. The owner admitted that they did not fully clean their barges before transporting them from all the different bodies of water. The warden educated the owner on how to improve his procedures to be in compliance with the law. Multiple commercial citations were issued for transporting zebra mussels.


Man Who Injured Warden Sentenced

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced earlier this month the sentencing of the man who injured a conservation officer last summer while trying to flee on his UTV. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced James J. Olscamp, 31, of Sanborn, was sentenced to one year in the Niagara County Jail by a Wheatfield Town judge.

The case stems from a July 22, 2018 incident, when officer Shea Mathis responded to a trespassing report. Mathis tried to stop two men riding an UTV and ATV, but they refused. The ATV rider, Dean R. Banks, 52, of Niagara Falls, nearly ran over Shea; Olscamp refused to stop and dragged Shea for about 400 yards. The officer sustained cuts and bruises to his arms, legs and forehead.

Olscamp was also ordered to pay $2,237 in restitution for damages caused. Earlier this year, Banks pleaded guilty to attempted reckless endangerment, a Class B misdemeanor, and ATV trespassing, a violation, and paid $1,030 in fines and surcharges.

K-9s Bolster Utah’s Poaching Fight

(From Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)  SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources K9 program has been revitalized with the introduction of two newly trained dogs — and they are ready for action. DWR previously had a K9 police dog program in the early ‘90s but it was discontinued until 2016. Then, it was cut short by a sudden cancer diagnosis and the death of conservation K9, Cody.

Conservation officers Matt Burgess and his 15-month-old male black Labrador retriever, Cruz, and Josh Carver and his male chocolate Lab, Carlo, recently finished an intensive 9-week training course in Patoka Lake, Indiana. The course was put on by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and trained the dogs to track people and wildlife, as well as do article searches to find specific items like guns, shotgun shells, cellphones, clothing and keys.

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