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Conservation Law Enforcement Corner October 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 | October 8, 2018

Clinch County: On Nov. 22, 2016, DNR Cpl. Jason Shipes responded to a complaint about possible night hunting activity and met with a person who had found a dead deer in a field.

“Earlier this date, the complainant found a freshly killed doe yearling left to rot in the field. The deer seemed to be shot sometime during the night,” said Cpl. Shipes in his official incident report.

DNR Law Enforcement Division officers then set up a detail to observe the area at night.

“During this detail, officers observed a vehicle traveling south on Frank Sessoms Highway.

“At approximately 2124 hours (9:24 p.m.), officers observed a vehicle approach an opening to the field. It quickly slowed as a high-powered handheld light was shined from the vehicle, swiping the field from side to side as if attempting to find any deer that may have been standing in the field.

“The vehicle then pulled into the field, cut off its headlights and once again shined a very high-powered light across the field. The vehicle sat still for a short time before pulling back into the roadway and continued south on Frank Sessoms Highway.

“At that point, Cpl. Pool and I exited our position in an effort to catch up with the vehicle. After a short distance, a uniform traffic stop was conducted. I approached the vehicle and observed two subjects in the vehicle. Also found in the vehicle was a handheld light, a handgun on the dash and a scoped long gun. Also, a strong odor of marijuana was noticed coming from the vehicle.”

The driver of the vehicle (a 1991 Chevy pickup) was identified as Benjamin Jackson, of Homerville, and the passenger was Jackson Terrell, also of Homerville.

“I asked the driver what they were doing, and he stated nothing, I then asked him who shined the light from the vehicle, at which time he denied any light being shined. I asked about the strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and he stated that they were just riding around and had smoked it all.

“I then had him exit the vehicle, placed him in handcuffs for officer safety due to the weapons and his admitted drug use, walked him to the rear of his vehicle and patted him down for weapons (again for officer safety). I then advised him that the light in question was not really a question at all, but an observation by this officer. At that time he admitted to shining the field in an attempt to locate a deer. When advised that he would be charged with hunting deer at night, he agreed and did not offer any alternative reasons for their actions.”

“The weapons secured and recorded were a .223 Savage bolt-action rifle, loaded with one in the chamber, and a 9mm Kel Tec pistol loaded with six rounds (not in the chamber). An Ultra-Stream Q-Beam light was also recorded.

“The passenger was then taken out of the vehicle by Clinch County Deputy Leo Lankford, and both were transported to the Clinch County Sheriff’s Department. Upon arriving at the Sheriff’s Office, the passenger admitted to having some additional marijuana on his person. Det. Crystal Lloyd was contacted by this officer and took the narcotics case at that point.

“The driver and passenger were booked into the Clinch County Jail and charged with hunting deer at night, hunting from a motor vehicle, and hunting big game from a public roadway.”

Disposition for the hunting violations was handled Feb. 14, 2017 in Superior Court of Clinch County. Both Benjamin Jackson and Jackson Terrell each paid fines totaling $1,750, and the cases were nolle prossed, which means not prosecuted.

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