Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Game Warden Files--Caught Red Handed

It was about the end of the North Zone deer season; there was snow on the ground and the northwest wind left no doubt that winter was just around the corner. The call came late on a Saturday afternoon with just a couple hours of daylight left. A hunter had come across the remains of a freshly killed doe deep in the woods, and had followed the tracks to a camp. He was very upset about it when he called so there was no waiting for the morning to handle it.

I headed out and met the young man, following him about a mile up a trail and found the spot where a deer had been cut up. The coyotes had already gotten into the gut pile; but we found the head intact and it was certainly a bald one. I knew were that tracks led, so I got in touch with Hamilton County ECO Bob Gosson and we headed for the camp. We alerted one of our K9 handlers, thinking we might need a detector dog and he was on his way from Schoharie County to us when Bob and I knocked at the door of the camp, which was actually a dumpy trailer. The door opened and there stood a man with a fresh back strap in one hand and a butcher knife in the other...and blood up to his elbows. We told him to put the knife down, which he did, and we stepped into the camp. The deer was in pieces all over the kitchen, so we called off the dog.

Though we were sure others had been involved in killing this deer, he was denying that anyone else had been with him. He was so quick to take the responsibility that after we had a verbal admission that he had killed the deer himself we took him right to a local judge while he was in the mood to confess. He settled easily.

Of all the deer carcasses I'd handled, this had to be the biggest doe I'd ever seen. The hindquarters were huge!. I made a financially strapped family very happy the next morning when I gave them what would probably be a many weeks worth of meat.  

I'd had dealings with this violator a year or so before this incident. He and his brother had shot a couple of ducks one day on their way to college. It was early fall and as they drove to college they had seen a few ducks near the shore of East Caroga Lake, so they stopped, stood between two of the camps and killed a couple of what we called "popcorn ducks," ducks that hang around camps and docks all summer getting so fat that they can't fly. Someone had seen them and called me. By the time I sorted out the facts and figured out the players it was later in the day on a rather warm fall afternoon. I found the brothers at the local college with the ducks still in a now very warm car--starting to smell pretty badly. I wrote them up and left the college Public Safety folks to deal with the matter of the guns in their trunks.

Since the deer incident was within five years of his duck violation I put in a request for suspension of his hunting privileges. That didn't make him, or the rest of his family happy.

I had several encounters with the patriarch of that family over the years. He was a miserable man who always spoke to me with a threatening tone in his voice. I suspect from his conversation that he may have been the one who actually had killed that deer, but his son took the rap for it and that bothered him. Of all the threats I ever had, I think his was the most credible. I was always cautious in the woods; but especially when working the area I knew that family might be hunting.

No comments:

Post a Comment