Trail Cams Vital in Solving Trophy Buck Poaching Cases

Trail Cams Vital in Solving Trophy Buck Poaching Cases
@ Texas Parks & Wildlife

Advances in stealth surveillance technology have made game cameras essential gear for serious deer hunters, but law enforcement agencies also know how valuable trail cams can be in solving trophy buck poaching cases.

In Grayson County, Texas, where only bowhunting is allowed to hunt the area's legendary trophy whitetail deer, crafty old bucks can be tough to find. But they can't escape the lens of a well-placed trail camera.

The same can be said about unsuspecting poachers. They can be tough to find, too, making trail cams a valuable investigative tool for law enforcement officers trying to rid our woods of illegal hunting.

Texas Game Wardens recently shared three high-profile poaching cases from last season in which trail cams were vital in gathering evidence. All three cases were documented in Grayson County, which is located in northeast Texss along the Red River.


Related Content

In those separate cases, officers seized three trophy whitetail bucks that had a combined Boone & Crockett gross score of over 535 inches, and a combined civil restitution value of $34,954.80.

"Deer hunters will go to great lengths in pursuit of a trophy white-tailed buck; poachers are willing to go farther, breaking ethical rules and game laws designed to protect and conserve one of Texas' most prized wildlife resources," Texas Game Wardens said in a news release.


Read more about this story

But wildlife agencies are meeting the challenge. The Texas agency highlighted the following cases from last season as examples:

Drinnon buck (Photo courtesy @ Texas Parks & Wildlife Department)


  • On Dec. 16, 2016, John Walker Drinnon, 34, of Whitesboro, Texas, told investigators that the 19-point buck he killed — before its image was circulated and fueled rumors in the area — was shot on public land in Oklahoma. But Drinnon's story didn't add up, and wardens uncovered a trail cam image on the same buck that was shot on the Texas side of Lake Texoma. Drinnon eventually confessed to killing the buck from a road with a rifle. He pleaded guilty to taking a whitetail deer without consent (a felony). The buck, which scored 202 Boone & Crockett, carried a civil restitution of $18,048.10.

Sweet buck (Photo courtesy @ Texas Parks & Wildlife Department)

  • Timothy Kane Sweet, 37, of Sherman, claimed the 19-pointer (which scored 177 B&C) he killed last season was shot in neighboring Fannin County. However, the buck had a unique rack and had been captured on a trail cam in Grayson County, prompting further investigation. Sweet told wardens he made a poor shot on the deer, then checked the area later. "When the buck jumped up and began to run off, Sweet said he shot it five or six times illegally at night with a pistol," the agency said in the news release. On Oct. 20, Sweet pleaded no contest to charges of illegal hunting methods, improperly tagged whitetail deer, and hunting out of season. Civil restitution was estimated at $10,664.35.

Culp buck (Photo courtesy @ Texas Parks & Wildlife Department)

  • Brian Eugene Culp, 47, of Gunter, Texas, tagged a 10-point, 157-inch B&C whitetail using a Super Combo hunting and fishing license (available at no cost to disabled veterans) that he did not qualify to possess. He pleaded no contest to a charge of hunting without a valid license. Civil restitution was estimated at $6,242.35.

Grayson County game wardens would like to thank the public for their assistance in these cases. Game wardens would also like to remind the public that they can report any illegal hunting activity to Texas Game Wardens using Operation Game Thief (800-792-GAME) or by contacting their local game warden.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Glenn Walker talks us through the soy-based technology that makes Lure Lock cases spill-proof and scent-proof. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

See More Trending Articles

More News

Highlights included increased access, advanced conservation, and new employment.

Great American Outdoors Act Closes in On Full Passage

Lynn Burkhead

Highlights included increased access, advanced conservation, and new employment.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions elsewhere, governor lists hunting and fishing as essential activities for now. News

Coronavirus: Texas Spring Fishing, Turkey Season Continue On

Lynn Burkhead - April 01, 2020

Despite COVID-19 restrictions elsewhere, governor lists hunting and fishing as essential...

New uses of Pittman-Robertson funds seek to restore hunter connections instead of wildlife populations. Conservation & Politics

Agencies Treating Hunters Like 'Customers'

Andrew McKean - June 11, 2020

New uses of Pittman-Robertson funds seek to restore hunter connections instead of wildlife...

Michael Cassidy joins group to defend hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation. News

G&F Publisher Tabbed for Sportsmen's Alliance and Foundation Board

Game & Fish Digital Staff - April 13, 2020

Michael Cassidy joins group to defend hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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