Conservation Law Enforcement Corner – June 2022

Highlighting The Work Of DNR Officers To Stop Illegal Activities

GON Staff | May 30, 2022

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 following account is provided from DNR LED. 

Tattnall County: On Nov. 27, 2020, Sgt. Chris Moore assisted Game Wardens Clint Jarriel and Patrick Gibbs with a surveillance detail targeting illegal poaching activities. 

“I parked in a field where I could observe vehicle traffic along Area Road in Tattnall County,” Sgt. Moore wrote in an account of the incident.

“Sunset occurred at 1724 hours. At approximately 1845 hours, I heard a vehicle, but I could not see headlights on the road. Using night-vision equipment, I observed a truck slowly driving in the field I was in. No headlights, tail lights, or spotlights were being used to drive. The vehicle approached a treeline. A handheld light began illuminating the woods and thickets where wildlife would be expected to enter and exit the field. The light was shined into the woods and thickets. The vehicle moved around the woodline periodically shining into thickets and woods.

“When I considered the manner by which the vehicle was in operation, the manner of the lights being used, the time and location, I determined the operator of the vehicle may be hunting deer and other wildlife contrary to state laws. I initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle (a camouflaged truck) and contacted game wardens Jarriel and Gibbs. I identified the driver as Colby Moncrief. There was a juvenile passenger in the vehicle, as well. I removed numerous loaded firearms of various calibers from the interior of the vehicle. The firearms had live rounds in the chambers. 

“Mr. Moncrief stated he was trying to find his way home and that his headlights did not work. He flicked the headlight toggle switch back and forth quickly. I reached in the cab and turned it on and left the switch in the on position. The headlights came on.

“The back of the truck contained traps, other hunting equipment, and there was dried blood present. Considering all my observations to this point, I believed the occupants of the truck were in the act of poaching wildlife. I detained Mr. Moncrief until Game Wardens Jarriel and Gibbs arrived on scene, and I turned the investigation over to them at this point.”

According to the final disposition record from the State Court of Tattnall County, on Feb. 11, 2021, Jason C. Moncrief, of Claxton, pleaded guilty to three charges—hunting deer at night, hunting from a vehicle, and failure to check game/record harvest. The court document said fines totaled $1,710, and the misdemeanor sentence included probation and mandatory one year of suspended privileges.

Hancock County: On Nov. 23, 2019, at about 11 a.m., Cpl. Ricky Boles was contacted concerning duck hunters at the Highway 16 boat ramp on the upper end of Lake Sinclair below the Oconee dam. 

“He was checking four duck hunters for license and boating safety equipment. He noticed two of the hunters had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from their breath and person,” Cpl. Boles said in the incident report. “He wanted me to come assist with accessing their sobriety. He believed at this point that they were impaired. Sgt. Matt Garthright had also informed me that both subjects were under 21. He had administered the alco-sensor, and one subject’s results were positive for alcohol at a level of 0.211.”

The young man was 19 years old and from Hampton. 

“Due to the fact that he was under 21 and showed positive for having consumed alcohol, Sgt. Garthright advised him of his Miranda Warnings,” Cpl. Boles said. “Sgt. Garthright advised the subject, who stated he understood his rights and wished to talk with us further during our investigation of him hunting under the influence.

“I arrived on scene and immediately noticed the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the subject’s breath. When I asked if he had shot at any ducks this morning, he replied that he had shot at one. He also admitted to drinking the night before. I asked what he was drinking, and his reply was ‘whiskey.’ His eyes were bloodshot and glassy, he was unstable on his feet, and his speech was slurred.”

The subject was transported to the Eatonton Police Department for the Intoxilyzer 9000. The result was BrAC of 0.194. He was then transported to Hancock County Detention Center for booking.”

According to Hancock County Probate Court records, on Jan. 1, 2020, the subject was fined, via bond forfeiture, $930 for Hunting Under the Influence and $74 for Hunting Without A License. 

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