Oklahoma Game Wardens Swamped With Poaching Cases
LOGAN COUNTY, Oklahoma - Oklahoma game wardens are busy with poachers this deer season.
At any given time, they are working several cases involving people illegally killing deer by trespassing, road hunting, spotlighting or other ignorant ways.
Poaching is a big problem with no simple solution.
“This time of year, it is non-stop,” said Lt. Wade Farrar, Logan County game warden supervisor.
Farrar is slammed with cases.
“I usually have a list of cases that I'm working and list of people that I'm after in different areas,” he explained.
Right now, wardens are working a case involving a doe shot and killed at Lake Thunderbird State Park.
Two children found her on a walking trail.
The poacher got away.
In Edmond, a local hunter leased land near Interstate 35 and then a trespasser came and shot the buck the hunter had been patiently pursuing.
The poacher was caught.
“That was inside the city limits of Edmond, which was another safety concern,” Farrar told News 9. “The City of Edmond doesn't want people shooting firearms inside their city limits."
Many of the 117 game wardens across the state do stings involving deer decoy, waiting for poachers to shoot a mechanical buck from the road.
“You run into people who are upset they have been caught, you run into people who are embarrassed,” Farrar said.
Oklahomans are also poaching elk, antelope and bears.
“We are spread pretty thin, so we try to work the areas that we get the most phone calls from,” Farrar said.
Therefore, game wardens depend on responsible hunters to report the illegal stuff when they see it.
Many times, that information is the only reason a poacher is caught.
“Just a little bit of information can lead us to something really big,” Farrar added.
Fines range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand depending on the crime.
There is also restitution that suspects pay to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife for the loss of the animal.