Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Wildlife Enforcement Report


On Saturday, December 18. dispatch received a call that two Kentucky men
were sinking in a small vessel on Lake Okeechobee. Lieutenant Travis
Franklin contacted the men by cell phone and was able to get a general
location. Officers Kevin Losee and David Burnsed responded to the Harney
Pond Canal Boat Ramp, launched a vessel and began a search. The initial
location was incorrect, but using spotlights, cell phones, radios, and blue
lights the men were located. Other than being cold they were in good
condition. They were found approximately one hour from the time of the
initial report.


On Sunday, December 19, Investigator Larry Ayers was contacted by the
Hendry County Sheriffs Office regarding trespassers on a hunting lease.
The landowner had encountered three men and two women in his camp and they
had taken his buggy and had hunted all over the lease. Ayers encountered
the two women first, who had the guns and hog meat and an alligator tail.
The three men were then arrested at the camp when they returned on the
buggy. All five were arrested for trespass, four for possession of
alligator, one for killing the alligator. One of the men and one of the
women were also charged with possession of marijuana under 20 grams. Under
investigation are the charges of breaking or injuring a fence and the theft
of the buggy.


On the early morning of Friday, December 24, Investigator Chris Harris was
working in Viking Prairie State Park in North Okeechobee County. Harris
was following a truck as it traveled along the state park fence line when
he heard a single rifle shot from the truck. When Harris stopped the truck
the single occupant had a freshly killed 4-point deer in the back. At the
time of the stop Investigator Harris had no probable cause to believe there
was a violation. He then let the individual continue on along the fence
line. When Harris got to the spot where he heard the shot, he found fresh
blood and drag sign coming out of the park and where the fence had been
cut. Harris had Officers Jason Godwin, Justin Allen and Rich Dearborn stop
the truck as it was leaving Viking. The truck now had two deer in it, the
4-point and a freshly killed 8-point. In the meantime, the manager of the
ranch, which borders Viking Prairie, called Harris regarding a similar
situation where his fence borders Viking. After gathering evidence for DNA
from both sites and confronted with the evidence, the defendant admitted to
poaching both deer. The defendant was arrested and charged with unlawful
entry into a state park, damage to a state park, trespass by projectile and
injuring or damaging a fence containing livestock.

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