Wildlife officers face a myriad of incidents when in the field — these game warden stories range from the serious to the ridiculous.
Attempted arson of a wildlife officer's vehicle, illegal hunting and fishing and the nation's fittest game wardens are featured below.
Charges in Case of Attempted Arson of Officer's Truck
Prison time is possible as two men in Arkansas face charges in an attempted arson incident that targeted a wildlife officer's truck while it was parked in his driveway.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Harold S. Otwell, 47, of El Dorado, and Dustin A. Pate, 31, of Junction City were arrested June 27 in connection with the incident.
According to a news release, the officer discovered the crime on June 24 when he noticed evidence that someone tried to set the vehicle ablaze. The gathered evidence, which included an oily substance, was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for analysis, which led to the charges.
Otwell has been charged with attempted arson and arson, both Class B felonies, which carry a possible sentence of 5 to 20 years if he is convicted. He also could face 2 to 10 years for targeting law enforcement. He was being held without bond.
Pate was charged with conspiracy to commit arson and arson and had his bond set at $25,000.
"The AGFC has no tolerance for any attempt to retaliate against any wildlife officer because of actions they take enforcing the laws of the State of Arkansas," Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Enforcement Division Assistant Chief Brad Young said.
>> Read more here
Littering and Illegal Fish
"Are you looking for me?"
That was the question New York conservation officer Mark Colesante asked as he approached a man suspected of poaching sunfish. The man appeared to be scanning the parking lot after he left a fishing spot on the Seneca River on June 23, possibly because he had 30 panfish over the daily limit of 50.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation reported Colesante watched the man catch fish on almost every cast, and release some of them back into the water when any fishermen came near. When the man left the water, he tossed an empty pack of hooks into the river, prompting the officer to follow him.
The man was ticketed for the illegal fish and littering in a navigable waters, and fined $200.
107 Illegal Fish
Did you know that while the state of New York has a 50-fish daily bag limit for bluegills, anglers cannot keep them in the five boroughs of New York City. All freshwater fish caught in the city must be released.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation said two man fishing at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx apparently ignored both regulations.
Conservation officers found the men with 118 sunfish — 11 were released alive; the rest were confiscated.
The men were issued five summonses. One of the men did not have a fishing license.
>> Read more DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Highlights
News Alert: Stork Kill Among Illegal Hunting Charges
After receiving a number of reports related to birds that had been found shot dead in northeast Edinburg, Texas Game Wardens set up surveillance in the vicinity. While investigating signs of trespassing into municipal properties, the officers heard pellet gun shots on the other side of a steep drainage ditch.
While one of the officers engaged the individual from a distance, the other game warden crossed the drainage ditch to meet with the subject. The man immediately explained he had been hunting "all kinds of birds," as well as rabbits, but was unaware a hunting license was necessary.
He subsequently admitted to shooting protected birds, including a stork on the water body adjacent to the Edinburg World Birding Center. The officers addressed various violations, including hunting without a license, no hunter's education, and hunting protected birds.
>> Read more Game Warden Field Notes from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
State Officers are 'Fittest in Nation'
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks conservation officers took the top spot in the 17thannual National LawFit Challenge. More than 150 agencies participated in the event, which tested officers in bench press, 1.5-mile run, sit-ups, flexibility, pull-ups, and a suspect pursuit course. The Mississippi team included Pvt. Derrick Scott, Corp. Justin Gates, Pvt. Cody Barber, Pvt. Cody Corso, Pvt. Tamarrius Good, Lt. Ricky Barry, Lt. Marcus Christon, and Pvt. Karri Fulton.
>> Read more about the competition here