Game Warden Chronicles: Turkey Poacher Shocks State Trooper

In the latest of game warden chronicles from around the United States, a conservation officer is shocked at what one turkey poacher does on a road.

Game Warden Chronicles: Turkey Poacher Shocks State Trooper

Ever hear about a crazy arrest by game wardens and wonder why someone did what they did?

Game warden reports from state conservation departments always are a source for a few laughs and head-scratching moments. Take a look at some of these selections from around the country.

From the New York Department of Environmental Conservation:

Did That Guy Really Just Do That?

On the morning of May 3, a New York State Trooper was traveling behind a pickup truck in the town of Grove when the truck suddenly stopped in the middle of the road. Much to the Trooper’s disbelief, the operator of the truck pointed a gun out the window and fired two rounds at a turkey approximately 10 yards off the road. Both shots missed and the turkey flew away unharmed. The Trooper pulled the truck over. ECO RJ Ward responded to assist. After interviewing the shooter, ECO Ward charged the subject with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public highway, illegally attempting to kill a turkey, attempting to take wildlife from a public highway, and attempting to take wildlife from a motor vehicle.

What's for Dinner?

On the evening of April 25, ECO Maxwell Nicols received a tip about a Facebook post showing multiple turkeys killed prior to the season opener with a subject claiming to have harvested the birds during the youth weekend. ECO Nicols located the photographer at his home, and after a conversation, the man admitted to harvesting three of the birds. When asked where the meat from the birds was, the man hung his head and looked into his kitchen, where a family member was cooking dinner. Upon further investigation, the officer determined that the subject had prior convictions barring him from possessing any firearms. The defendant was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, taking turkeys during the closed season, and hunting turkey without turkey hunting privileges. All charges are returnable to Essex Town Court. The shotgun and remaining turkey meat were seized as evidence, and dinner was allowed to proceed as planned. The investigation continues into who took the fourth turkey.

Turkeys? Double Trouble!

On May 3, ECO Brian Canzeri received a call about individuals hunting turkeys from the roads in the town of Petersburg along the Vermont border. ECO Canzeri located the suspects’ vehicle and followed it. ECO Canzeri stopped the vehicle and later determined that the father-and-son duo had shot a turkey from a road earlier in the day, trespassed on posted property to retrieve it, failed to tag it with New York tags, drove to Vermont to tag it with a Vermont tag, and came back into New York to continue hunting from roads. A second illegally possessed turkey was also found in the bed of the suspects’ pick-up truck. Vermont Game Wardens were notified, and officers met Canzeri and the subjects at the location to continue the investigation. The father and son were charged with more than a dozen violations of both New York and Vermont laws, and ECO Canzeri seized the birds and shotgun as evidence.

From the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

Hey, Don't Be a Litterbug

CO John Kamps completed an investigation on an individual for failing to remove two ice shacks by the designated date. The individual removed only the upper half of the ice shacks and left two large piles of garbage at two different access sites on the lakes. The CO was able to develop a suspect and conduct an interview. The individual confessed to leaving the trash at the boat access sites and was issued a ticket for litter.

What Is It About Turkeys?

CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of an individual trespassing onto another’s land to hunt turkeys out of season. Upon further investigation, CO Butzin found that the individual who trespassed onto the property was a tribal member and that the tribal season for turkey was open. However, the land was private, not open to tribal hunting, and he did not have permission to hunt on the land. Furthermore, the land owner had specifically told the individual and his partner they could not hunt on his land which was well posted. Shortly after this the land owner heard a shot and found the subject with a turkey on his property directly behind two no trespassing signs. CO Butzin submitted a report to the Delta County Prosecutors Office requesting charges.

I Can't Have a Badger?

While on patrol, CO Duane Budreau and PCO Jon Sheppard received a complaint that a person had taken an illegal badger. The subject posted a picture on Facebook of the badger saying that it would look good in his man cave. After checking to see if the subject had purchased a fur harvesters license and determining that he hadn’t, the COs went to the subject’s residence to ask about the badger. He invited the COs into his home to show them the badger in his freezer. The subject was able to show text messages trying to see if it was legal for him to take a badger that was hit by a vehicle. He called the Department of Natural Resources Gaylord Customer Service Center to ask if it was legal and was told that it was not. At that point, he was already at work and the badger in his freezer. The COs seized the badger and issued a warning for illegal possession of a badger.

From Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports:

C'mon, Just Quit Lying Already

During the late-night hours in early October, an Upshur County game warden received a call from a distraught couple claiming they had discovered a deceased 10-point buck on their property. The couple explained they noticed the dead deer in the field just beyond their target after sighting in hunting rifles. The callers requested the warden’s response due to concern that the deer was possibly sick or diseased. An impromptu necropsy by the wardens confirmed their suspicions that the buck had died from a fatal gunshot wound. After further questioning, ballistics exams, and recreating the couple’s shooting scenario, the emotional female finally confessed to intentionally shooting the buck in the field. Claiming never to have had the opportunity growing up to hunt or harvest a wild animal, she decided to take a shot at the live target. Civil restitution and charges were filed. Cases are pending.

Social Media Bust, Part I

On Nov. 3, Henderson County game wardens followed up on a tip regarding a Snapchat posting of a white-tailed doe. It was believed the doe was illegally harvested the night before opening day of the general firearm season. Upon interviewing one of the suspects, it was confirmed the deer pictured on Snapchat was taken illegally at night and with the aid of artificial light. All three suspected violators later provided written statements admitting involvement in hunting the deer at night and failing to keep the deer in edible condition. Citations were issued to all violators.

Social Media Bust, Part II

When crafting a hunting story on social media, always pay attention to the timeline. A Trinity County man posted information about a white-tailed buck he claimed to have taken on Nov. 4 that caught the eye of game wardens. A quick check revealed the individual actually purchased his hunting license the day after he claimed the kill. After monitoring the subject’s Facebook page for a couple of days, and noting he had already gotten the finished taxidermy mount of the deer antlers, wardens paid him a visit. Wardens arrived at the residence and asked to see the hunter’s license. The hunting license was missing a mule deer tag, and the harvest log revealed the hunter killed a doe on the same day it was purchased. Wardens already knew a buck was killed and asked to see the head. The hunter led the wardens to the living room of the residence where the skull was European mounted and displayed on the wall. According to the hunter, he had killed the buck on Nov. 4, and received the mount back the next day. After a short interview, it was determined the buck was taken on Oct. 23 with a rifle during the archery-only hunting season. Multiple cases were filed as well as civil restitution.

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