Game Warden Chronicles: 4 Charged With Killing Nearly 100 Turkeys

In the latest game warden chronicles, four Mississippi men have been charged with illegally killing nearly 100 turkeys during the 2019 spring season.

Game Warden Chronicles: 4 Charged With Killing Nearly 100 Turkeys

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.

That's Quite a Lot of Turkeys

A group of south Mississippians believed to have killed nearly 100 turkeys during the 2019 season have been charged and arrested after an 11-month investigation by Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Conservation Officers.

The arrests resulted in approximately 280 wildlife violations issued to 14 different subjects. 

The following individuals were arrested:

  • Kenneth Ray Britt, (39 of Wesson, Mississippi); charged with 142 wildlife violations.
  • Tony Grant Smith, (25 of Wesson, Mississippi); charged with 68 wildlife violations.
  • Allen Shelton Morgan, (48 of Brookhaven, Mississippi); charged with 28 violations.
  • Breanna Jeanine McKay, (26 of Wesson, Mississippi); charged with five violations.

This group is believed to be responsible for poaching nearly 100 turkeys and trespassing on 15 properties in Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson and Lincoln counties. It was discovered during the investigation that the illegal activities were not limited to Mississippi. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also conducting an investigation of the illegal out-of-state hunts. 

“This is the most blatant disregard for Mississippi’s conservation laws I have seen in my thirty-three years of service with this Agency,” MDWFP Col. Steve Adcock said. “The primary mission of the MDWFP Law Enforcement Bureau is to detect and hold accountable those persons who jeopardize our rich hunting heritage by committing lawless acts such as these.”

Multiple Charges Made on Poaching of Snow Geese

A Delaware man was arrested March 3 on multiple poaching and criminal charges following an investigation by DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police.

On February 15, a Fish & Wildlife officer responded to a complaint near Smyrna regarding a shot fired from a pickup truck toward hunters who were in a field amidst snow goose decoys. The vehicle from which the shot was fired was seen later driving through and making ruts in the field occupied by the goose hunters.

Ryan Permelia, 28, of Dover, was charged with one count each of hunting from a motor vehicle, hunting snow goose without required conservation order season permit, possession of prohibited lead shot while hunting migratory waterfowl, carrying an unlawfully loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, reckless endangering first degree, criminal mischief under $1,000, and criminal trespass third degree. Permelia was arraigned through Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on his own recognizance, pending a future court appearance in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas.

The investigation is continuing as officers seek the identity of two persons of interest who were passengers in Permelia’s vehicle at the time of the incident. 

Jail, Fine, Probation for Big Game Poaching

A Colorado Springs man was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to poaching deer, turkey and bighorn sheep in three counties in central Colorado.

Iniki Vike Kapu, 27, reached a plea agreement that combined cases in Fremont, Teller and Chaffee counties. He was sentenced to six months in jail, fined $4,600, forfeiture of weapons used in the incidents and three years of supervised probation. He received credit for 111 days already spent in jail at the time of sentencing.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said he could lose all hunting privileges entirely. Officials investigated for more than a year, started in 2018, after accusations were made that Kapu was accused of killing 12 deer, two turkeys and a bighorn sheep ram in the three counties.

What Happens at the Lake House...

From the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department:

On February 8, Llano County game wardens responded to a shots fired call with deputies. Multiple callers stated an individual in a subdivision was shooting an automatic rifle at a buoy in the lake near houses and towards boats in the water. A rental house was located with eight people where the shooter was identified. The shooter admitted to hiding the rifle inside the residence. Consent was given to search the house which yielded the rifle, bags of marijuana, unprescribed Adderall and psilocybin mushrooms. A total of five people were arrested for charges ranging from possession of marijuana, deadly conduct- 3rd degree felony and possession of controlled substance 1>4 grams — 2nd degree felony.

Hey, Y'all Stop Methin’ Around

On February 10, an Ellis County game warden received a call from the Cedar Hill police chief to discuss issues and complaints they were receiving on a rural part of the city where their officers couldn’t easily access. After the game warden met with the chief and lieutenant, he patrolled the area and located a white truck trespassing with the driver still sitting in the vehicle. A meth pipe was in his hunting jacket and the suspect admitted to waiting on his friend to go hog hunting. The game warden located 1.6 grams of meth in the vehicle and a loaded 30-30 rifle. The suspect was a convicted felon and the rifle came back as stolen out of Montgomery County. The subject was arrested and placed in the Ellis County Jail. Multiple charges pending.

Texas Man Admits Responsibility for Killing Eagle

A 35-year-old resident of Bay City, Texas, made an appearance in federal court and admitted he was responsible for killing a protected species.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick announced that Leonard Cornelius, 35, of Bay City, Texas, pleaded guilty to killing a bald eagle, no longer an endangered species, but still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. This law makes it a crime to kill, possess, sell, transport, export or import, any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless specifically allowed by permit.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby accepted the plea and ordered Cornelius to serve one year of probation and pay 11,907.50 in restitution to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The court found he killed the animal knowingly and with wanton disregard for the consequences of his actions. 

“We work with our state law enforcement partners on information sharing and investigations to effectively protect our nation's wildlife resources,” said Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) — Office of Law Enforcement. “Through the effective enforcement of state and federal laws, we can conserve those trust species in the State of Texas and across the nation for future generations. We would like to thank the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Attorney's Office for their assistance in this case."   

On March 22, 2018, authorities located a dead bald eagle and a number of other dead animals that appeared to have been poisoned near a field located southeast of Bay City. They began looking for the source of the poison and encountered Cornelius inspecting nearby farm fields. 

He soon admitted he had placed the poison in his farm fields in order to kill birds that had been damaging his crops. Cornelius admitted he coated approximately 30 pounds of corn with poison. He then spread the corn on several of his fields in order to kill the birds. He acknowledged seeing dead birds and several dead hogs in the area after he spread the poison.

Laboratory analysis later confirmed poisoned corn caused the bald eagle’s death.

FWS conducted the investigation with assistance of TPWD.

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