Conservation Law Enforcement Corner May 2019
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.
Ware County: On Sunday morning Dec. 12, 2017, at approximately 11 a.m., DNR Law Enforcement Division Cpl. Jason Shipes was contacted. A man on his way to church on Dewey Road saw two men dragging a deer into the woods, and as he stopped his vehicle, they dropped the deer and ran. He said the driver of a vehicle who dropped them out was still there.
In his incident report, Cpl. Shipes said, “Upon my arrival, I observed several subjects standing in the roadway.”
The witness and the landowner were there with Chantz Whitley, of Nicholls, who was the person driving a white 2007 GMC Sierra pickup. Also there were two Ware County deputies.
“I began by speaking with Mr. Whitley,” Cpl. Shipes said. “Whitley stated that his next-door neighbor (James Johnson) called him and asked him if he would help pick up a deer they (James Johnson and Cody Fickle) had killed. I then walked a short distance into the woods and found a very young antlered deer with a single gunshot.”
DNR and Sheriff’s Department officers patrolled the area until 5 p.m. and continued attempts to contact Johnson and Fickle by cell phone.
On Dec. 13, Cpl. Shipes received a text from James Johnson, who stated he was sorry he didn’t get in touch sooner, that he wanted to pay his fines, and he wrote in the text, “What I did was wrong and I’m ready to pay for my mistakes it won’t happen again.”
On Dec. 18, the officer met with James Johnson, who gave a statement saying that while on Dewey Road, a deer crossed in front of them. Johnson stated they pulled up, located the deer and shot the deer with his .308 rifle. Johnson admitted to shooting from the roadway out the window of the car. They returned home and had his neighbor return with his truck in an attempt to retrieve the deer.
James Johnson, of Nicholls, pleaded guilty to hunting from a vehicle, hunting big game from a public road and hunting without permission. Each carried a $675 fine for a total of $2,025. Two charges for hunting without licenses were dropped.
The latest documentation regarding five charges against Cody Fickle, of Fitzgerald, is that he failed to appear in court on Feb. 28, 2018, and a bench warrant was issued. According to the Ware County State Court clerk, as of April 23, 2019, the warrant for Fickle was still outstanding.
Recent citations issued by DNR Law Enforcement. These cases may not have been adjudicated.
• Barrow Co.: Nov. 22, George Eady, of Auburn; Nicholos Derline, of Hoschton; and Justin Anderson, of Bethlehem; hunting without permission; hunting big game over bait.
• Forsyth Co.: Dec. 2, Larry Mellis, of Flowery Branch; hunting without permission; hunting deer without fluorescent orange; hunting with illegal weapon/ammo; misdemeanor obstruction/hindering of officer.
• Gordon Co.: Nov. 24, Bryson Thurman, of Fairmount; Austin Dotson, of Calhoun; Christopher and Brian Potter, of Ranger; and Gage Jones, of Adairsville; hunting from a public road.
• Hall Co.: Dec. 3, Jason Munson, of Lula; and Cameron Sosebee, of Cleveland; hunting deer at night; hunting from a vehicle; and hunting from a public road.
• Houston Co.: Nov. 27, Kevin Harper, of Elko; hunting from a vehicle; hunting deer at night.
• Lumpkin Co.: Nov. 22, David Schneider, of Dahlonega; taking over the bag limit; hunting deer at night; theft by taking wildlife; recording and reporting requirements.
• Oconee Co.: Nov. 27, Dylan Claxton, of Watkinsville; and Devin Bell, of Comer; hunting from a public road; hunting without permission; hunting from a vehicle; and hunting deer at night.
• Polk Co.: Dec. 15, Warren Ashley, of Centre, Ala.; hunting deer at night; hunting from a vehicle; hunting from a public road.
• Wilkes Co.: Nov. 23, Steven Miller, of Mount Airy; hunting from a public road; hunting deer at night; hunting from a vehicle.
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