Game Warden Chronicles: Turkey Tumbles, Poacher Claims Bait and Switch?

In the latest game warden chronicles, a Michigan man claims the bait he put out was for deer and not turkeys so it was OK for him to kill a turkey.

Game Warden Chronicles: Turkey Tumbles, Poacher Claims Bait and Switch?

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 Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

On Trial, He Claims Bait-and-Switch

CO Andrea Albert recently testified in a jury trial regarding an investigation from last fall of a turkey hunter who shot a turkey with the aid of bait. During the trial, the hunter stated he put the bait out for deer and not turkeys. He claimed he never intended to attract turkeys with his bait; therefore, it was legal for him to shoot a turkey near the bait.

The jury found the subject guilty of taking a turkey with the aid of bait and was sentenced to three days jail, four days community service in lieu of eight days in jail, one year probation, $1,625 in fines and costs, $2,000 reimbursement for the bearded turkey, and revocation of all hunting privileges for the current year and an additional five years.

Turkey, Trespasser and Learning About Boundaries

CO Mike Wells received a complaint of subjects that were observed shooting an illegal turkey. CO Wells arrived at the location and the complainant informed him that two subjects had trespassed and shot a turkey on his property. The subject that had harvested the turkey admitted that the bird was running and that he shot at the bird a total of four times. The first shot was on public land and this shot wounded the turkey. The bird ran back onto the private property and the hunter pursued it, past “No Trespassing” signs, firing three more shots at the bird before it went down.

The suspect had traveled approximately 40 yards into the complainant’s property, shooting at least two times while on the private land. The hunter said that the turkey was from state land and admitted that he did not know that he could not cross a private property line to retrieve a wounded animal. The turkey was seized pending review from the prosecutor’s office.

The Boat Registration Was Expired How Long?

Sgt. Ron Kimmerly observed a very small flat bottom boat heading down the Bad River in St. Charles. The boat was sitting very low in the water. The Sgt. yelled from shore, “Are you all set with life jackets?” The operator yelled back, “We are all set.” The sergeant yelled back, “Hold them up.”

It turns out they had no personal floating devices (PFDs) and the boat’s registration had expired in 2008. The sergeant met the occupants back at the access site where a ticket was issued for not having PFDs and a verbal warning for the registration that had been expired for 11 years.


From Texas Parks & Wildlife Department:

Does He Even Know His Name?

On May 11, a Navarro County game warden was patrolling around Richland Chambers Reservoir when he noticed an individual fishing near one of the boat ramps. As the warden approached, the individual fishing confessed, “I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t have a fishing license.” That proved to be the extent of his truthfulness. Actually, he didn’t have any identification and couldn’t recall the name of the person who owned the vehicle he was driving. The individual also claimed he no longer had anything illegal left on his person or in the vehicle. Afterwards, during a probable cause search of his person and the vehicle, multiple illegal narcotics and paraphernalia items were discovered. The subject was arrested and transported to the Navarro County Jail on several drug-related offenses. He was also cited for not having a fishing license.

Holy Crappie!

On May 6, Jasper County game wardens received information alleging three local crappie fishing guides were permitting out-of-state fishermen to violate bag limits. The daily limit for crappie is 25 fish greater than 10 inches in length. An investigation found 808 crappie had been retained by a dozen anglers, resulting in 245 game law violations. Several cases are pending along with civil restitution.

Social Media Helps Game Wardens

A Louisiana game warden reached out to his counterparts in Sabine County (Texas) about several individuals who had posted to Snapchat their alligator catching adventure on the Texas side of Toledo Bend Reservoir. A Texas game warden traveled to Sabine Parrish to assist with the investigation. The cooperation between the bordering states was essential and beneficial to the investigation. While being interviewed, the suspect stated he and the other men were fishing around the Indian Mounds area and caught the alligator on the bank, took pictures of the alligator, and then released it. The individuals each received one citation and couple of warnings.

Son Tells Truth, Father Gets Pinched

On April 19, a Brazoria County game warden received a phone call from a local landowner stating three of his blackbuck antelope had been shot. Two antelope were found dead and another one was wounded. The landowner stated a neighbor saw two men with a .22 rifle along his high fence knew where the suspects lived. The suspects turned out to be a teenage boy and his father.

After separating the pair, the teenage boy stated his dad had shot all three antelope. The boy also retrieved the .22 rifle that was used, and explained they planned on eating the antelope, but the fence was too high for him to cross over and retrieve the carcasses. With the overwhelming evidence building up against the father, he decided to confess. Hunt without landowner consent, no hunting license, and discharging a firearm across property lines were filed. Cases pending.


From Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

Catch, Photo, Release Is How It's Done

CO Annette Kyllo (Pierz) spent time working with CO Karon on Mille Lacs Lake. Two individuals were encountered with one walleye that was over 23 inches in their livewell as well as five smallmouth bass that fell in the protected 17- to 21-inch slot. The individuals said they didn?t want to take the bass home, but they were keeping them for photos. They were instructed to take photos right away and then immediately release any protected-size fish. Enforcement action was taken. Other common violations Kyllo encountered were failure to have enough wearable PFDs, throwable style PFDs, and fire extinguishers on board boats.


From Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission:

Federal Waters, Federal Fish Violations

Officers P. Rockwell, H. Rockwell, and Matechik were on federal fisheries patrol aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel Vigilance. Approximately 11 miles south of Destin, the officers inspected a vessel with three individuals on board. During the inspection, the individuals were found in possession of red snapper during closed season and undersized gray triggerfish. The individuals were cited for the federal violations of possession of red snapper during closed season and possession of undersized gray triggerfish.

Officers P. Rockwell, H. Rockwell, and Matechik were on federal fisheries patrol aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel Vigilance. Approximately 15 miles southwest of Ft. Walton Beach, the officers inspected a vessel with two individuals on board. During the inspection, the individuals were found in possession of red snapper during closed season. The passenger of the vessel admitted to catching and keeping the red snapper and was cited for the violation.

Investigation Into Deer Poaching

In Volusia County, Officer Cameron responded to a call and found three deer carcasses in the woods on the side of the road. Two of the deer had the backstraps and legs removed and there were fresh blood stains on the street. The officer canvased the neighborhood and spoke to a resident nearby who claimed to have heard shots early that morning. During the conversation Officer Cameron developed a suspect.

At the suspect’s residence, the officer found a pool of blood on the driveway as well as a 22-mag shell casing on the ground in the front yard. Officer Cameron interviewed the subject and obtained a sworn written confession.

Officer Cameron consulted with the State Attorney’s Office and charged the subject with seven misdemeanor charges including three counts of taking deer during closed season, one count of taking deer with gun and light, one count willful/wanton waste, and other related criminal charges.


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