On Oct. 26, Missouri Department of Conservation agents issued several citations to a group of individuals suspected of deer poaching on the Capps Creek Conservation Area (CA) near Jolly Mill in northwest Barry County.
"If it wasn't for public cooperation, we wouldn't have been able to catch this group," said Travis McLain, Barry County Conservation agent. "We take every report of a violation very seriously, and I strongly encourage citizens to do the right thing and report suspected wildlife violations. Public cooperation is crucial in protecting our wildlife resources."
On Oct. 25, two bowhunters, who were lawfully hunting deer at Capps Creek CA, observed a group of individuals discharging a firearm and wounding a deer. The bowhunters gathered information about the suspects and their vehicle and reported the incident to local authorities.
Conservation agents contacted the suspects shortly after midnight the next morning when the group of individuals returned to the scene where the violation occurred. At that time, agents found the head and meat of another antlered deer in the suspects' vehicle. The deer was allegedly killed in rural Barry County with the aid of artificial light.
Conservation agents issued six citations to three individuals. One individual was arrested on a warrant that had been issued for failing to appear in court for a traffic violation citation. That suspect was taken to the Barry County Jail, said McLain.
Citations issued to the individuals involved included: taking deer during closed season; attempting to take deer during closed season; taking deer with the aid of artificial light; illegally possessing or transporting deer; and operating a motor vehicle on the highway without a valid driver's license.
There are many ways to report game law violations, said McLain. Individuals can call the local sheriff's department or the 24-hour Operation Game Thief (OGT) Hotline at 1-800-392-1111.
"The OGT Hotline allows citizens to report wildlife-related violations to conservation authorities," said McLain. "The hotline allows callers to remain anonymous if they choose, and cash rewards are also available for information that is provided that leads to the arrest of game law violations."
For more information, call McLain at 847-4784 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.