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Arkansas Deer Poacher 5 over Limit While Trespassing.

November 12, 2005

Arkansas Deer Poacher ArrestedARKADELPHIA - Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers see some of the worst poaching violations and hear some of the worst excuses for breaking the laws that protect our natural resources. But some poachers can even surprise veteran wildlife officers that think they’ve seen it all. Sgt. Robert Barger ran across just this sort of case on Nov. 12 during the modern gun deer hunt.

Responding to a trespassing complaint, Barger met with a hunter who had caught three men with deer he believed had been taken on his lease in Clark County. His lease bordered the Big Timber Leased Lands Wildlife Management Area, where the other hunters claimed they were hunting. Barger immediately noticed the three hunters had four deer in their possession - a nine-point, two eight-points and a spike - none of which had been tagged.

When the suspects began to lie about where they were hunting and refused to cooperate, Barger called for assistance from Cpl. Tod Johnson and his K-9 officer Carly, an enforcement dog specially trained for tracking and game location. While waiting for the K-9 unit to arrive, Barger began an intensive search of the surrounding area to gather evidence. During his search he found two more illegally harvested deer - a five-point and another spike.

Once Cpl. Johnson and Carly arrived, they conducted another search to find all the points where the animals had been shot and the stand locations of all three suspects. During this search, they found a dead doe that had been hidden and left to spoil, bringing the total for the morning to seven deer. The hunter’s stand locations were also revealed, with one stand being placed on the WMA boundary line.

Cpl. Johnson and Carly proved how valuable the K-9 unit is to wildlife law enforcement, said Barger. The search for all this evidence could have taken days instead of hours.

All seven deer were killed within plain view of one stand location, while the other two hunters had no view of any of the deer from their stand sites. Nine bullet casings were also found underneath this stand that matched one suspect’s rifle.

The suspect with the matching rifle was charged with four counts of being over the limit, two counts of antler-restriction violations, one count of wasting game, one count of hunting on lands without permission and three counts of failure to tag game. The other two suspects were charged with aiding and abetting a wildlife violation.

Had it not been for all of the shooting, the suspect may have gone unnoticed by the hunter on the private lease, said Barger. After hearing nine shots go off within a couple of hours, the hunter had to go see what all the commotion was about.

Upon returning to the scene for additional evidence the next day, Barger discovered yet another deer in the same area, this one a six-point buck. The suspect will face charges for this deer as well, bringing his possible fines to more than $6,000 when he goes to court in mid-December.


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