December 18, 2020
By Game and Fish Staff
Wildlife officers, whether they're called conservation officers, rangers or game wardens, face a myriad of incidents when in the field.
These field reports from across the country range from the serious to the ridiculous.
Kentucky: Charges in Trophy Poaching
A Kentucky man is facing charges in connection to the reported poaching of a large whitetail buck that could rank on the state's all-time non-typical buck list.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources said in a news release that the poached deer's non-typical antlers were unofficially scored by conservation officers at 230 6/8 inches. The current Kentucky non-typical record is 271 7/8 inches. "Based on its unofficial score, the … buck could rank in the top 25 all-time for non-typical deer in Kentucky."
The Union, Ky., man is accused of illegally killing the buck in early November, hunting on private property without permission and improperly reporting the kill. He also faces charges for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
After receiving a photo showing the animal, conservation officers began investigating the case on Nov. 5. Two days later, the suspect told investigators he shot the buck on private property in Fort Mitchell after getting permission to hunt the land. The landowner said he did not.
The suspect then led officers to property in a neighboring county, where the buck was concealed. He said he planned to take the head with antlers to a taxidermist to be mounted. Officers seized the cape and head of the deer, as well as the rest of the carcass. The meat was spoiled and unusable.
Read more about this story
Texas: Oh Deer, When Will You Learn?
Two Polk County game wardens were on night patrol with their deer decoy "Corby" when Corby caught someone's eye. A truck passed the decoy, slowed to a stop, then quickly reversed and the headlights were positioned onto the decoy. After a brief pause, the sound of a small caliber rifle shot was heard from the vehicle. The wardens approached the subject and they were apprehended without incident. A .22 caliber rifle was found in the back seat of the truck with a spent casing still in the ejection port of the rifle. The subject also admitted to being charged for spotlighting on a public roadway near the same area a few weeks prior to this incident by a different Polk County game warden. The subject was charged with hunting white-tailed deer at night, hunting white-tailed deer using artificial light and multiple Class C citations and warnings. …
Lavaca County game wardens were on patrol when they heard a rifle shot come from an area where they had previously seen deer hunting violations. When they went to investigate, they saw a man drive out of the brush, head home, pick up his wife and then return to the woods. An hour later, the wife returned to the house with the head and meat of a white-tailed buck. A warden approached the wife, who then led the warden to where she was meeting her husband in the woods. The man was surprised when his wife showed up with the game warden to their hidden cleaning rack. Citation was issued for taking a white-tailed deer in closed season and civil restitution was filed.
Read more Texas Game Warden Field Notes
Oklahoma: 20 Geese Left to Waste
Oklahoma Game Wardens in Sequoyah County are investigating the reported wasting of 20 geese near the Dwight Mission Road east-bound exit 303 ramp off of Interstate 40. The birds (19 lesser Canada geese and one snow goose) were illegally disposed, not cleaned, and left to waste.
"This type of activity is not tolerated," Oklahoma Game Wardens posted on Facebook. "Please help us bring those responsible for this action forward. It sheds a negative light on all hunters especially waterfowlers to the non-hunting public."
If you have any info, call game wardens Jerry Henry 918-431-2544 or Brek Henry 918-431-2550.
Idaho: Help Sought on Recent Poaching Cases
Idaho Fish and Game enforcement officers are looking for info in their investigations of numerous poaching incidents this season.
Recent Idaho Poaching Cases (click links to learn more)
Upper Snake Region
If you have any information related to these cases, call the CAP hotline at (800) 632-5999 or report online at idfg.idaho.gov/poacher.
Maryland: Suspected Poachers Face Thousands in Fines
Maryland Natural Resources Police charged three men with illegally killing multiple deer in Garrett County in November and December, including an anterless albino deer on Dec. 3, according to a news release.
The three men face numerous charges, and up to $22,500 in combined fines. Each suspect admitted to the charges, according to police.
Investigators found the three men drove to the Blakeslee area to look for deer, when they saw the albino deer and other antlerless deer in a private field. One of the suspects fired a shot at the albino from the back seat, killing it, then passed the firearm to another suspect, who fired at other deer.
The three suspects then left the area and said they had planned to return to retrieve the deer, but the deer was left to waste.
Officers discovered one of the suspects (who allegedly shot at other deer in the Dec. 3 incident) was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition due to previous criminal convictions, and also had his driving privileges revoked. He was charged with hunting antlerless deer during closed season, hunting from a vehicle, loaded weapon in a vehicle, hunting without written permission, driving without a license, driving while suspended, driving while revoked, possession of a rifle after conviction of a disqualifying crime, and illegal possession of ammunition. He faces up to $10,500 in fines.
The suspect accused of shooting the albino deer was charged with hunting antlerless deer during closed season, hunting from a vehicle, possession of a loaded weapon in a vehicle, hunting without written permission, and removal of deer parts prior to reporting the harvest to the Department. He faces up to $7,500 in fines.
The third suspect was charged with aid and abetting hunting deer during closed season, aid and abetting hunting from vehicle, and hunting without written permission. He faces up to $4,500 in fines.
Read more here