Conservation Law Enforcement Corner – August 2018
The Conservation LE Corner is designed to highlight the efforts of Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division (LED) officers who, among their many duties, protect Georgia’s wildlife, sportsmen and natural resources from game-law violators.
The 2013 change to operate DNR Law Enforcement as its own Division rather than as a Section under the Wildlife Resources Division wasn’t without opposition. The change also removed law enforcement duties of parks and wildlife personnel, giving those POST-certified DNR employees the choice of becoming full-time law enforcement officers.
Those opposed most often cited that State Parks and WMAs wouldn’t have adequate law enforcement presence.
In June, the DNR Law Enforcement Division (LED) issued 710 citations. During a month when the vast majority of enforcement work centers around reservoirs and rivers, almost 20 percent of the citations were issued on State Parks and WMAs.
A common case made at State Parks is for illegal consumption of alcohol. Consumption or use of alcoholic beverages or intoxicants is not allowed in any public-use area at State Parks.
According to Kim Hatcher, of Georgia State Parks, “Any publicly used area should be without alcohol. Guests who rent cabins, campsites and enclosed group shelters are considered to be in private areas, so alcohol would be allowed.”
Citations made on WMAs during the month of June ranged from illegal dumping at John’s Mtn., marijuana possession at Cohutta, criminal trespass at Dawson Forest, illegal use of an ATV at Bullard Creek and damaging state property at Paulks Pasture.
As mentioned, many of the citations issued by LED during the summer months are for boating violations. Tickets are commonly written for laws some new boaters or people who rent or borrow boats might not be aware of:
• Allowing kids under 13 to ride in moving boats without wearing a PFD.
• Operating a boat or PWC at more than idle speed within 100 feet of a dock or shore.
• Allowing a person to ride bow/gunwale without required railing.
In June alone, DNR Law Enforcement officers made 32 cases against boaters for operating a vessel under the influence.
The Georgia Boat Safety Act prohibits anyone from boating under the influence (BUI), defined as operating any boat, sailboat, personal watercraft, water skis, sailboard or similar device while intoxicated. It is also unlawful for the owner of a boat or PWC to allow anyone else to operate their boat or PWC while that person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
For those under 21, they can be charged if their blood alcohol level is 0.02. Those 21 or older are considered to be under the influence if their blood alcohol level is 0.08 or more or if drugs are detected.
Recent citations issued by DNR Law Enforcement. Cases have not been adjudicated.
• Atkinson Co.: June 21, Larry Davis, of Axson, hunting without permission.
• Bartow Co.: June 11, Arturo De Los Santos-Martinez, Angel De Los Santos-Martinez and Aurelio De Martinez, all of Smyrna, fishing without permission.
• Camden Co.: June 2, Matthew Mistisshen, of Kingsland, and Isaia Brazell Rodriguez, of Woodbine; hunting without permission.
• Charlton Co.: March 25, Edward Thompson, of Woodbine, hunting without permission; hunting without a license; hunting without big game license; and recording and reporting requirements.
• DeKalb Co.: June 2, Angel Miguel, of Norcross; taking gamefish by illegal method at Stone Mountain Lake.
• Floyd Co.: April 27, Charles Coleman, of Rockmart, hunting big game over bait.
• Glynn Co.: June 9, Eugene Herrin and Gregory Parrish, both of Nahunta, taking/possession of illegal size fish at Turtle River.
• Habersham Co.: March 24, Wilmer Lord, of Marietta, hunting big game over bait; and hunting without a license.
• Laurens Co.: March 24, Cody Smith and Todd Anderson, both of Vero Beach, Fla., hunting big game over bait.
• Murray Co.: June 20, Adam Wyatt, of Cleveland, Tenn., fishing for trout with unlawful equipment; non-resident fishing without a license; and non-resident fishing without a non-resident trout license.
• Rockdale Co.: Jeremy Bruce and Jennifer Newsome, both of Conyers, fishing without permission and fishing without a license at Randy Pointer Lake.
• Schley Co.: March 24, Thomas Middlekauff, of Jacksonville, Fla., hunting big game over bait; and non-resident hunting big game without non-resident big game license.
• Ware Co.: June 25, James Burkett, of Alma; violation of deer kill permit.
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