Conservation Law Enforcement Corner – June 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.

GON Staff | June 11, 2018

Atkinson County: On Nov. 25, 2017, DNR Law Enforcement Cpl. Tim Hutto was working a complaint about night-hunting activities on Sutton Road near Kirkland.

The following account is from officer Hutto’s Department of Public Safety incident report:

“At around 9:15 p.m., I observed a truck approach my location at a very slow rate of speed. The driver of the truck stopped at the northwest corner of the peanut field and shined a hand-held light across the field in a manner associated with that of someone night hunting for deer. I proceeded out of my location, which was only approximately 200 yards from the vehicle, and pulled out onto Sutton Road. I then made a stop on a black Chevy truck.

“I called the stop into the Tifton State Patrol Post and then made contact with the driver at the driver window of his truck. I observed a hand-held LED Maglight and several firearms in the front seat of the truck.”

Cpl. Hutto asked the driver to exit the truck as a safety precaution.

The driver was Wesley Branch, of Stockton, which is about 35 miles south of Kirkland.

“I asked Mr. Branch why he was shining the light across the field and if he knew whose property it was. Mr. Branch stated that he was looking for a deer to shoot and didn’t know who owned the property.

“Mr. Branch was placed into custody and turned over to an Atkinson County Deputy to transport to the sheriff’s department in Pearson.

Mr. Branch was in possession of a Winchester 12 gauge shotgun loaded with OO Buckshot, a Taurus 9 mm semi-automatic pistol and a Savage Model 110 30-06, which was also loaded, according to the incident report.

According to Probate Court records, Mr. Branch paid fines of $700 for hunting deer at night, $425 for hunting from a vehicle, $257 for hunting big game from a public road and $257 for hunting without permission.

Total fines were $1,639.

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