View Full Version : Warden Response
October 4, 2009, 06:32 AM
How good are the fish and game wardens in your in responding to possible poaching situations. Around here, unfortunaely, they are poor.
Several bird seasons are going open in the next few weeks. Last weekend I was hearing shotguns blasts coming from an area that has one of these birds. If those guys were shooting the birds, they were violating the law. Who knows, they could have been out plinking with their shotguns or shooting some sort of legal vermin. On the other hand, poaching was a possiblility.
I tried to report them. I even used the number they have on billboards all over the state asking for help in stopping illegal hunting activities. Being it was a Saturday, I got a voice mail box to leave a detailed message about what I was witnessing. I did.
The shooting stopped eventually because of night fall. Or maybe they ran out of targets or ammo. This is not the first time I got this kind of response from the hunting police. I almost feel like turning their highway billboards into long range targets, not really, but the thought makes me feel better.
Has anyone here ever tried to report poachers? Can you reach "live" people on the weekend? How well did your wildlife agency respond?
October 4, 2009, 07:16 AM
Around here I haven't required their services, so I don't know. But, I was surprised by the response I got when I was living in the Golden State.
My best hunting friend went pheasant hunting on opening day. We went to this public hunting spot because the weekend before, fish and game had a junior pheasant hunt there. They planted several hundred birds for that. Yes, I know planted pheasants are not the same as the "real" wild ones, but in California you must make due.
Our brilliant idea was apparently shared by many, many other hunters. The parking areas looked more like the parking lot of WalMart on Christmas Eve. We knew it was going to a cluster#@&*, you know what. Their wasn't a warden to be seen.
In California, legal shooting hours for pheasant begins at 8:00am. As my friend and I was waiting for the legal time, as were many other hunters, some guys were already hunting by 6:00am. Some guys were even leaving the field with their limits. I tried calling the 1-800 Stop Poaching number, I got a recording that said to call back during "normal" business hours, which would have been Monday morning. That recording, plus everything else, had me ticked off. We hunted for about twenty minutes because the sound of birdshot bouncing off a hunting vest is unnerving.
I did call Fish and Game that next Monday to complain about the whole fiasco. The woman on the line assured me that the complaint would forwarded to enforcement department and that it would be addressed. I had as much confidence in that reply as I have in the current administration solving any problem any more complex then opening a jar of peant butter.
One year latter, we decided to be at the same spot. We wanted to see if fish and game had repsonded. Like the year before, it was a zoo. Unlike the year before, a couple of wardens were their patrolling. They were even warning hunters that shooting time began at 8:00am.
I have to give them credit, they did respond. In fact, I saw more then a few hunters pack and leave before shooting started. Dollars to doughtnuts they were unlicensed idiots.
At least once, in California, they did all right.
October 4, 2009, 07:39 AM
Growing up in the southern parts of NJ, I never did see a warden. However, when I was out in the northern parts of NJ, I would see a few of them here and there. Mostly just being friendly, establishing a presence, checking that the shotguns had plugs, and making sure others enjoying the woods knew that hunting season was on and that they should have an orange vest just in case.
October 4, 2009, 09:18 AM
One of the game wardens here is a buddy of mine.
If I call him with a violation, he'll show up shortly.
October 4, 2009, 12:00 PM
In SW Texas, the game wardens are spread pretty thin. My home county is the size of Delaware, and we have maybe three or four wardens, total. All they can do is work the "key" areas where they know from experience that poachers will likely operate.
Response time? Well, maybe sixty miles of pavement before a turnoff onto twenty miles of bad jeep trail--if they're not already tied up on another case or at the jail or in court.
October 4, 2009, 12:27 PM
Never had to turn in a hunter in Florida but I have utilized the Fish division several times and they usually were on it in a hurry.
I always took it upon myself to let the violator know of the transgressions and if they opted to ignore my warnings or worse, give me guff about it... I dialed the phone. Never once had my report gotten ignored and every time they showed up while I was still on scene so I was able to give an official written statement to aid them should the violator opt to fight it in court. I don't care to snitch but I ain't gonna stand by and let a slob illegal alien cast net for undersize snook, redfish or trout...:mad:
October 4, 2009, 12:32 PM
Our experence, which is rather exstensive because I am VERY quick to call them when some clown is stealing from the rest of us. It seems to me that guys who really go over the line make the rest of us look bad, that they give the antis unnecessasry ammunition and that in many instances they are stealing what they are to lazy to harvest legally or ethically.
In fact we called the FWC from the lake this morning on some clowns blatently breaking gator hunting regulation.
As for my experence with their responce, it's been good. Sure they have staffing problems at times, no way they can be in as many places as they need to be at once. And I expect too that at times they have to make a decision as to which call to answer because they are busy. This is normal stuff.
In general though, and this morning was no exception in that a lieutenant called us back in just a few minutes for more information on the problem. It's always struck me that they really want to keep things straight out there. If you call them they pay attention and do what they can.
The FWC officer who works the WMA we normally hunt is very organized. He makes a point of knowing who owns what truck, takes a few minutes to talk to all the hunters and seems to have a good idea of who the guys are who need watching.
And this is worth mentioning. Over the last decade or so it's gotten to the point that, at least here in FL., that FWC officers must have a college education and some military experence does not hurt either. And the training programs for the FWC are top notch. The point being that the guys you see in the field, with no disrespect to the older officers implied, are top nothc folks. Add experence, which is a invaluable asset the older officers have to share with them, and the end result is a force that is to be appreciated.
October 4, 2009, 12:36 PM
Here in our county the "possum police" work through the sheriff's office for dispatching, backup, etc. I'd forget about those 1-800 numbers if you want a fast response. Any peace officer can enforce game laws. They just won't likely be totally up on all the complexities. They will be able to get ahold of a game warden however. Ours were always good about coming out, if called, even if they weren't on duty at the time. Response time wasn't going to be like calling 911 though. Our game wardens were very receptive to calls, they considered all the lil' animals their personal property.
October 4, 2009, 02:04 PM
Here in NC they tend to be alright for the most part. However, when it comes to the sand hills game areas, there were certain ones to have a history of being sorry. One warden wrote a man a ticket for not wherein his orange. The guy had just completed the hunt, already unloaded his gun, and even put it in it’s case. When the game warden who had just happen to pull up saw him take off his orange hat and place it on the hood of his truck while talking to his buddy (who had no gun), the warded jumped out and proceeded to ticket the guy. This took place on the side of a paved road on private land. This same warden would also turn a blind eye to his buddies’ clubs that were trespassing on other club’s lands and taking doe out of season.
Another guy who had been caught in the act of poaching at night was a well known and close friend of this warden. Of course the warden let his poacher buddy go and was even allowed to teach hunter safety courses. I guess his first safety rule is to have the game warden in your pocket.
Complaints were made about him and to my knowledge nothing was ever done about it. I don’t know if he is still there as I have not hunted that area much in the last 6 years.
October 4, 2009, 04:47 PM
Here we just call the local Alaska State Troopers office if it's on state/native land. If it's on Coast Guard property, a quick phone call to Military Police gets the job done.
I've reported suspected illegal activities on a few occasions, sometimes very late at night on weekends. I have almost always had a live person answer my call. One exception was when I called the AST office and got an answering machine. I left a message, but then called MILPOL and asked them to get in touch with the Troopers on the radio. Two Alaska State Troopers arrived at my location less than 10 minutes later. I've always gotten almost immediate response from both agencies. When I'm in a remote-ish location, it hardly ever takes more than a reasonable amount of time for an officer to arrive.
Kind of dangerous to do and I do not advise others to do the same, but once I observed someone deer hunting in Chiniak out of season, so I drove up the only access road a few miles and blocked it with my truck, jacked up one corner and pretended I had a flat tire until AST was able to make the long drive out there... The poacher never made contact with me, and was arrested without incident... Yes, I was heavily armed as was my rabbit hunting buddy...
Alaska takes illegal hunting/fishing activity very seriously. There are hefty fines and jail times for even "minor" offenses. I would advise that those interested in illegal hunting/fishing activities come up to Kodiak and give it a try... If AST or MILPOL doesn't catch you, a citizen likely will...
October 4, 2009, 09:21 PM
Here Fish & Game are a very dedicated bunch they even arrest cops for violating the game laws just as it should be.
October 4, 2009, 10:11 PM
Sometimes the ADF&G are the bad guys:eek:
There is a fairly well known pipeline right of way/road that is normally closed to the public but the gate is supposed to be open for Moose season. A former coworker and his family went out to go hunting only to find the gate closed and locked (contrary to posted dates on the sign). Out came the bolt-cutters. Guess who they found hunting the road? A whole herd of ADF&G. The bunny cops were not pleased to see that their private little happy hunting ground had been invaded by lowly citizens. They even had the gaul to ask how they got in. The reply was "what do you mean, the gate is open, isn't it supposed to be?".;)
October 4, 2009, 11:08 PM
It's hit and miss here. They seem to monitor/respond to inland fishing violations much more than hunting.
Personal statistics hunting and fishing in SoFL for 45 yrs.
Saltwater fishing: Never checked. Used to fish 4 days a week.
Freshwater fishing: Never checked. Used to fish every weekend.
Hunting: Never checked. I've never hunted WMA's. Weekends and any other time that I could scrape up.
I do stop at the local pier on the way home and see the FWC there once in a while.
It really doesn't matter as I follow all of the laws to the letter.
October 5, 2009, 09:40 AM
Sometimes the ADF&G are the bad guys
There is a fairly well known pipeline right of way/road that is normally closed to the public but the gate is supposed to be open for Moose season. A former coworker and his family went out to go hunting only to find the gate closed and locked (contrary to posted dates on the sign). Out came the bolt-cutters. Guess who they found hunting the road? A whole herd of ADF&G. The bunny cops were not pleased to see that their private little happy hunting ground had been invaded by lowly citizens. They even had the gaul to ask how they got in. The reply was "what do you mean, the gate is open, isn't it supposed to be?".
Thankfully I haven't had any experiences like this one here in Kodiak...
October 5, 2009, 10:25 AM
Similar situation in Michigan to what Art Eatman says about Texas. The conservation officers are spread preety thin. I know in Michigan it is due to budget problems. I have a buddy who had a problem in his area. He has been told by the state police that he should call them as they work closely with the DNR.
Fat White Boy
October 5, 2009, 10:09 PM
I am also in Kollyfornia. I haven't been checked while hunting but I have had a warden check my fishing license on the back side of Catalina Island. The DFG has also busted up some Bear poaching rings up in Northern Cal... They seem to have different priorities, depending on where the money is. I have met some very capable personnel in our Dept of Fish and Game through Quail Unlimited and I also used to take my son on some of the Big Horn Sheep projects so he would get some desert time when he was little.
October 6, 2009, 11:22 PM
Our CO's all have a public posted phone number to their home. Then if not home, the recorder takes a message and any in progress violation are to be called in to the State Patrol dispatch. And there is also the TIP number.
I get a kick out of our local CO when he takes a vacation. His message on the phone is, " This phone is not taking any messages, please call 555-whatever:).
I always leave a message then:D.
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