Conservation Law Enforcement Corner August 2020

GON Staff | August 2, 2020

Ware County: On the night of Thursday, Jan. 1, 2020, Game Warden Luke Rabun and Game Warden First Class Sam Williams were observing an area off of Old Nichols Road in Ware County known for a high amount of night deer hunting activity. At approximately 9:30 that night both wardens heard the sound of a high caliber rifle shot that seemed to have come from a southward direction on Old Nichols Road.

“We could tell by how loud the shot was that it came from pretty close by,” Rabun stated in the incident report. “While GWFC Williams stayed in his patrol truck, I walked out to the road to see if I could observe any activity coming from the direction we heard the shots. While I was standing in the middle of Old Nichols Road, I could see a light being shined from what appeared at the time to be a handheld flashlight being operated by an individual from over 500 yards away.”

Rabun called officer Williams via cell phone to tell him he could see a light, and while on the phone they heard another high caliber rifle shot that sounded like it was where the light was being shined.

“I got in the patrol truck with GWFC Williams, and he drove the truck in the direction where I observed the light and had heard the shots. As GWFC Williams and I approached the area, we observed a large pickup truck with a camper top on the right hand shoulder of the road facing toward us with an agricultural field on the driver’s side of the truck. GWFC Williams activated his blue lights on his patrol truck, and the pickup truck began to ease forward as we got parallel to it. As I exited the patrol truck, I instructed the driver to turn the vehicle off. I noticed the driver to be a male who appeared to be in his 30s, and a passenger who was sitting in the middle seat next to the driver to be a younger juvenile male. I then observed a rifle positioned with the barrel of the weapon pointed toward the floorboard of the truck placed between the passenger in the middle seat and the passenger seat. I instructed the driver to exit the vehicle and step to the rear area of his truck, and I told the passenger to remain in the truck while I secured the weapon. GWFC Williams positioned his patrol truck to the rear of the suspect’s vehicle, still facing south in a manner where the patrol truck’s bed and the suspect’s truck beds were facing each other. GWFC Williams communicated the stop to GSP Waycross dispatch.

“While I was walking to the patrol truck to secure the weapon, I noticed a knocking sound coming from the bed area that had a camper top of the suspect’s truck. GWFC Williams made a comment to the driver, ‘There was still one kicking back there.’ I secured the weapon in the truck and checked to make sure the weapon was safe and unloaded, when I found that there was a round in the chamber. I checked the magazine and learned that the magazine was empty. The weapon was a black synthetic stock Savage Axis .270 bolt action rife with a black Simmons scope. The passenger was now out of the vehicle standing beside the suspect. I looked in the bed of the truck and noticed there was a mature doe and a yearling deer. The yearling was shot in the guts that was still alive in the bed of the suspect’s truck. I asked the suspect if he shot these does out of the field that we had stopped them at, and he told me that he missed the deer he was just shooting at, and that he just shot those deer behind his friend’s house. I asked the young boy how old he was, and he told me that he was 11 years old. I overheard the driver tell the young boy, ‘I told you this was not the way to do it.’

GWFC Williams located a high-powered laser pointer that is commonly used in night deer hunting, a handheld atomic beam flashlight, Russian made night vision binoculars and a Magellan hand-held Q-beam flashlight.

James Riley Crews was charged with hunting from a vehicle, hunting deer at night and hunting big game from public road.

“I noticed that the yearling doe had finally passed away, and James Crews assisted me in loading the two illegally shot whitetail deer into the bed of GWFC Williams’s patrol truck. GWFC Williams and I traveled to the Ware County/Charlton County line and delivered the two deer to a young man who could make good use of the meat,” Rabun said in the report.

Court records show on Feb. 26, 2020, James Crews paid a total of $810 in fines and received 12 months probation on charges of hunting deer at night and hunting big game from a road. The charge for hunting from a vehicle was dismissed.

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