Violating state game laws can be costly

Friday, November 23, 2007

On Friday, Nov. 2, Barry County conservation agent Jason Midyett was contacted by a landowner who found the carcass of a 16-point buck on his property on Farm Road 2200 between Highway 112 and Highway 86.

"The landowner who found the deer thought it was road kill and so I went out to give him a disposition," said Midyett. "When I inspected the carcass, I found a bullet hole and a shell casing."

Midyett later received an anonymous tip that led him to contact James Bryant, Jr., of Cassville.

"I questioned Mr. Bryant and found that he had a firearm that matched the type of ammunition used to kill the deer," said Midyett. "The gun was at another residence so I went there and asked the property owner to turn over the firearm because it was evidence."

After verifying that the ammunition used to kill the 16-point buck was fired from Bryant's firearm, Midyett issued Bryant three citations for the incident.

The citations, which are all Class A misdemeanors, included taking a deer in closed season, taking a deer with the aid of artificial light and taking a deer from a public roadway. The citations carry fines that total around $1,000.

"People need to remember that it only takes an instant for them to be seen by the wrong person or caught in the act by a conservation agent,"?said Midyett.

Barry County conservation agents often conduct night spotlight patrols to catch individuals violating state game laws. Patrols are doubled in areas where illegal activities have been reported and during the two weeks before and after deer season.

"We often have hunters who try to cheat because the weather isn't cooperating during deer season or just because this is an easy way to get a deer," said Midyett. "People should remember that it is not fair chase, which is something we teach in hunter safety classes.

"Violating the law is not fair to the animal and it casts a negative image on all people who take part in hunting," said Midyett. "The rest of the community gets lumped in with those who take animals illegally and it creates a bad image of hunting in general."

Landowners who see individuals violating state game laws are asked to make a report using the Operation Game Thief Hotline, which is 1-800-392-1111.

Individuals are asked to report incidents of hunting from a roadway, disposing of carcasses within waterways, harvesting deer or turkey with another hunter's tag and the use of a spotlight to harvest game. Rewards are available for tips that lead to an arrest or citation.

Reports can also be made through the Barry County Sheriff's Department or by calling Midyett at 835-0380 or Barry County conservation agent Travis McLain at 847-4784.

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