Saturday, November 23, 2013

Game Warden Files--All in the Family

Every officer's sector has a problem family or two...well, maybe even three or four. One of mine got some stories told in some previous posts; but there is another that deserves at least one story.

It was only my second or third season as an "upstate game warden" and some folks seemed to think that they were immune from the law. This family owned quite a bit of land and probably did--and may still--get away with a lot of violations. One day I ran into a fellow sitting on watch not far from a logging road. I stopped to check him out and found that he was one of *that* family. He checked out OK, and told me that his grandson was working his way up the hill from the house, trying to push some deer up to him. Now, I knew that the grandson was under 16, the legal age to hunt deer, and was curious just how and where he'd show up. I found him a few minutes later at his grandfather's pickup, trying to distance himself from the gun that I'd already seen in his hands.

He was 14 or 15, and had a small game license and so he could hunt small game, but not deer or bear; if accompanied by an older licensed hunter. Though he'd been a good distance away from his grandfather, I could stretch the accompanied part of the situation and let that slide; but I wanted a better look at the gun he'd been carrying. If he'd been hunting small game, I would have expected to find a .22 rimfire or a shotgun with bird shot.  What he'd been carrying, however had been a .30 rifle. His grandfather argued with me that the boy had been carrying a shotgun, so I showed him the gun...and decided to go right to the judge.

I really wasn't convinced that Grampa knew what the kid was doing--the kid has since had a long history of run-ins with the law--so I opted to do a civil compromise with the kid. I sold Grampa on the idea, and he forked over the money for the civil penalty.

There was a private road that ran through that family's property which I had often used to access a couple camps that were on other private property in the area. The very next time I came out of that road, a family member greeted me with a pretty hefty attitude and told me that I was not welcomed to use their road any more--EVER! Shortly thereafter, a gate went up. I saw the judge from that case a few weeks later. He had seen one of the family members and asked where was some property for sale up his way. He said he'd heard that I was about to close on a piece of land near him and wondered just where it might be....

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