Conservation Law Enforcement Corner – March 2023

GON Staff | March 1, 2023

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.

When you look at this picture above from 2020, remember that the red snapper season that year was only four days long and the limit was two fish. The picture appeared on the DNR LED Facebook page along with this description: “Georgia’s Game Wardens are well-trained in a wide variety of law enforcement skills and are often called on to use them. Cpl. John Evans, who works along Georgia’s coast, has recently proven that with two very different cases he worked this month. In one, he and NOAA Agent Ben Hughes caught two men with 29 red snapper totaling nearly 350 pounds during the closed season.”

Coffee County: On Oct. 21, 2020, DNR Law Enforcement Division officer Luke Rabun was patrolling an area on Falcon Crest Road in Ambrose for illegal nighttime deer hunting activity.

Just before 8 p.m., officer Rabun saw a pick-up truck approach a field with a light being shined from the passenger window.

“I followed the vehicle heading east down Falcon Crest Road, where I observed a light being shined from the driver’s side of the truck into two more fields,” he wrote in the incident report. “I performed a traffic stop on Falcon Crest Road while a handheld light was being shined from the driver’s side window of the truck. I communicated my traffic stop of a white 2018 Ford F250 with GSP Douglas.

“While approaching the truck, I observed a multitude of beer cans in the bed of the truck. I requested the driver roll down the back window where I noticed multiple firearms in the backseat. I asked the occupants if the firearms were loaded, and the driver responded, ‘Yes.’”

The officer asked for permission to remove the guns from the back seat, and when he did, he said he smelled alcohol in the truck. He then asked if there were guns in the front seat, and the driver said there was a pistol and another rifle in the front passenger area of the truck.

“I had the occupants step out of the truck to a grassy area on the shoulder of the road. I asked where the beer was, and they told me about one opened container in the back floorboard area, and one opened beer that was placed under the front passenger seat. I then retrieved two semi-automatic 12 gauge Beretta shotguns and a Remington Model 700 bolt-action rifle from the back passenger seat of the truck and a black synthetic stock .223 Remington Model 700 bolt-action rifle from the front passenger seat of the truck.”

GSP called to inform officer Rabun that the driver has a suspended license.

“When I went to retrieve the opened container from the front passenger seat of the truck, I located a spent .223 rifle shell. I asked the driver where the deer is that was already shot. He replied that he had not shot a deer, and he always shoots his .223 out the window of his truck at birds and other things on his farm.”

Officer Rabun said he had received numerous complaints about the passenger night hunting. “I asked him if that surprised him, and he replied, ‘No.’”

GSP arrived and determined that the driver was safe to operate the truck, but he couldn’t because of his suspended license. The passenger was deemed safe to drive. The driver, 32 at the time, from Ambrose, and the passenger, 25 at the time, from Broxton, were both issued citations for Hunting Deer at Night, Hunting Big Game From a Public Road, and Hunting From a Vehicle.

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