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Game Warden Stories: Major Undercover Bust, Naked Truth, Passenger Deer

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

Game Warden Stories: Major Undercover Bust, Naked Truth, Passenger Deer

18 people were implicated after a large Florida investigation into illegal and taking and selling of various wildlife. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission photo)

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.

Under-Cover Busts in Florida

More than a dozen people face charges for illegal taking and selling of various wildlife in Florida, including deer, alligator, gopher tortoise, snook and more.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said a long-term investigation resulted in the Friday, Aug. 9, arrests of three people that included felony charges — 15 others were served with notices to appear.

The charges are the result of an investigation that began in 2017 and included under-cover investigators who gained evidence and info from the suspects.

“The suspects were taking deer out of season, alligators without licenses and permits, and protected gopher tortoises. During a closure in response to red tide, they illegally took snook, jeopardizing the fishery’s recovery,” FWC said in a news release.

Among the charges filed were possession of a short-barreled shotgun (second-degree felony), unlawful sale of deer (third-degree felony), Illegal take/possession of American alligator (third-degree felony), taking/possession of deer during the closed season (first degree misdemeanor), unlawful sale/take/possession of American alligator and a long list of other misdemeanors.

Read more about the charges filed

Making Waves

Some Texas Game Wardens got an eyeful when investigating a boat they found adrift without illuminated navigation lights on Lake Granbury in June. As they got closer, they saw two naked people … umm … making waves.

The naked man realized they had been spotted, started the boat and headed in the other direction despite commands to stop.

After stopped the couple was found to be intoxicated; the naked man was arrested for boating while intoxicated.

Oh, Deer, Did You See That?

Also in Texas, game wardens received an odd call about two live fawns being spotted in the backseat of a Toyota Prius driving down I-35 near Bolton. It was not a hallucination.

A warden found the man and seized the two deer at the sheriff’s office. One had a wound to the ear due to a missing ear tag.

The driver admitted he worked at a deer breeding ranch in Dimmit County and he took both fawns without permission. The warden took the driver into custody for Triple T Violation (trap/transport/transplant game animal without permit; Class B misdemeanor) and possession of a live game animal.

Read more Texas Game Warden Field Notes

Man Arrested for Bear Poaching

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a Morehouse Parish man on Aug. 1 for the alleged illegal taking of a Louisiana black bear. The man allegedly killed the black bear with bow and arrow in October 2018 behind his residence near Bastrop. The man, Dennis Reppon, 53, of Bastrop, admitted he killed the bear while deer hunting.

He faces a fine of $900 to $950 and up to 120 days in jail, plus civil restitution of $10,000.

Read more here

Officer Nabs Federal Fugitive

A Kentucky conservation officer acted on a tip to find and arrest a federal fugitive wanted for bank robbery and parole violations.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources officer Cody Berry arrested Jeffrey Pratt of Lexington on July 13 in the Green River Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Taylor County. Berry had been sought by the U.S. Marshals and FBI.

A tipster told Berry that Pratt had been seen near Wilson Creek section of the WMA, where the fugitive was arrested quickly.

Pratt faces multiple additional charges, including fleeing or evading police, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and possessing a prescribed controlled substance in an improper container.

Read more here

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