Conservation Law Enforcement Corner December 2011

Colquitt County night hunters with sneaky method of poaching and retrieving deer. Not sneaky enough.

Brad Bailey | December 1, 2011

Word on the street is the judicial system in Colquitt County is tough on poachers. Colquitt County Judge Richard Kent is known for handing down stiff sentences to game-law violators.

“We’ve got a real good judge in Colquitt County,” said DNR Law Enforcement Cpl. Tommy Daughtrey. “He loves to hunt and fish. He backs us 100 percent.”

Perhaps that’s why two night hunters caught in Colquitt County agreed to hefty fines and even jail time in a plea bargain rather than face a trial.

Daughtrey caught the two poachers on Nov. 12, 2010, despite their sly method of shooting and recovering an illegally killed deer.

“They’ll shoot ’em and then drop somebody out, then come back a couple hours later and pick that person up and pick the deer up when everything’s sort of died down,” said Daughtrey.

Daughtrey began his long night when he heard a radio dispatch from Colquitt County 911 at about 11:40 p.m. The call reported a deer shot from the road directly in front of a residence.

As he drove to the scene, Daughtrey called the complainant on the phone. The complainant said a dark-colored Chevrolet Tahoe had been in the entrance to a 1-acre field across the road from the residence after the shot was fired. The complainant saw two men run through the headlights into the field before the vehicle sped away. A few minutes later, the Tahoe returned, and the complainant shined a flashlight on the vehicle. It again fled the scene.

When Daughtrey arrived, he saw tire tracks and shoe prints in the field entrance. He parked his truck near the area and waited for the suspects to possibly return for the deer. This time, at about 1:45 a.m., it was a small car that pulled up and stopped in the road.

“A vehicle stopped about 400 yards down from the field, and I was using night vision, so when I drove up I could see the silhouette of two people standing beside the vehicle in a ditch,” said Daughtrey. “So when I hit my blue lights, they hit the woods and the vehicle took off.”

Daughtrey chased the two subjects into the woods on foot.

“They ran into a wooded area. He didn’t make it 20 yards before he fell on the dirt, and I had him down. But he never would show me his hands,” said Daughtrey, who thought the man might be hiding a weapon. “I don’t know what he was doing. It was a pretty tense situation for a couple minutes.”

After being ordered to put his hands behind his back several times, Timothy Lance Simmons, of Moultrie, complied. Daughtrey cuffed him and upon arriving back at the truck found brass knuckles, a razor-blade knife and a small bag of marijuana in Simmons’ pockets.

Daughtrey arrested Simmons and radioed for backup. When Colquitt County deputies arrived, they searched the woods for the second man. It took about 20 minutes of looking before Daughtrey found Evan Dwight Johnson, of Moultrie, lying in a bush and behind a tree near where Simmons was found.

Daughtrey found a partially burned marijuana cigarette in a cigarette pack in Johnson’s pocket and also a marijuana pipe. Johnson was arrested, and when he was questioned told Daughtrey that he and Simmons had just been taking a walk in the woods.

“They were both just sweated down,” said Daughtrey. “You could tell they had been dragging something.”

Simmons and Johnson were taken to jail. Daughtrey had gathered some information in questioning the subjects, and he went to a residence where Simmons and Johnson had been at a cook-out earlier in the evening. There he found a dark-blue Tahoe with tire treads matching the tracks he had found earlier. At the residence, Daughtrey spoke with an individual who told him Simmons and Johnson had shot a deer that night and had asked for help in retrieving it. The individual agreed to provide a written statement.

“I found where they dropped the deer; I found where they drug it, but I never did find the deer,” Daughtrey said. “I don’t know what they did with it. I never did even find the gun.”

Daughtrey said even without those key pieces of evidence, he had enough evidence to convict the poachers.

Both men were charged with and pleaded guilty to hunting deer at night, hunting from the road, hunting from a vehicle, possession of marijuana and obstruction/hindering of an officer.

Simmons and Johnson were sentenced to pay $3,717.75 in fines each. They were both sentenced to suspensions of their hunting and fishing licenses. They were both ordered to complete 32 hours of community service, spend 10 days in jail and 12 months on probation.

GON was not able to find working phone numbers to contact Simmons or Johnson.


Case Files

Bartow Co.: On Nov. 10, 2010, Frank Young, of Emerson, was charged with hunting without permission and possession of illegally taken wildlife. Young was sentenced to pay fines of $800 and a hunting suspension.

Brooks Co.: On Nov. 13, 2010, Jarvis Turner and Ernest Whitfield, both of Quitman, were both charged with hunting deer at night. They were each sentenced to pay fines of  $500, probation and hunting suspensions.

Colquitt Co.: On Nov. 5, 2010, Mark Cunningham, of Moultrie, was charged with hunting without a license, hunting without a big game license and hunting big game over bait. Cunningham was sentenced to pay fines of $580.

Colquitt Co.: On Nov. 14, 2010, William McCullar and Joel White, both of Moultrie, were both charged with hunting hunting deer at night. McCullar and White were each sentenced to pay fines of $1,000 and hunting suspensions.

Franklin Co.: On Nov. 7, 2010, Rachelle Boswell, of Carnesville, was charged with hunting deer at night, hunting from a public road and hunting from a vehicle. Bobby Huddler, of Cornelia, was charged with unlawful transportation of wildlife. Boswell was sentenced to pay fines of $1,450 and probation. Huddler was sentenced to pay fines of $75.

Lowndes Co.: On Nov. 6, 2010, Richard Garner, of Valdosta, was charged with hunting without permission for squirrels. Garner was sentenced to pay fines of $500.

Lowndes Co.: On Nov. 7, 2010, Russell Woske, of Valdosta, was charged with hunting deer at night. Woske was sentenced to pay fines of $500.

Turner Co.: On Nov. 11, 2010, John Spann, of Gainesville, Fla., and Adam Spann, of Okeechobee, Fla., were each charged with hunting deer without fluorescent orange and hunting without a license. The Spanns were sentenced to pay fines of $350 each.


Marine Theft Hot-Sheet

This list is compiled periodically by DNR. If you see a boat that may be stolen, do not approach suspects. Take down information to aid investigators, and contact law enforcement. Information in this list includes county where the theft occurred, hull number, type of engine (IN-inboard, OB-outboard), make, length and color and other notes (if available).

Colquitt: TJZ1P563C999, OB, Triton, 21’, green.

Dawson: WELC24601687, IN, Welcraft, 32’, blue.

Emanuel: DES607891176, OB, Buddy, 14’, unknown, aluminum jonboat and homemade trailer with Georgia tag.

Lanier: MGL16052B303, OB, Procraft, 17’, 4’, white/blue.

Lowndes: RSB36037G394, OB, Walmart, 14’, green.

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