Roost Shooters Kill 30 Wood Ducks

Conservation Law Enforcement Corner - May 2022

GON Staff | May 3, 2022

Toombs County: On Dec. 15, 2020, Game Warden First Class Robert Sanders received a call about an after-hours roost shoot in a duck hole. 

“I am familiar with the area and knew exactly where to go and how to get into the location,” Sanders said. “I was able to see and hear the conservations and names of the individuals there. There were several people still in the water wading around collecting ducks. All of the individuals went back to the vehicles under the powerline. I was able to coordinate with Sgt. Moore to come in on another road through a gate to a house and try to get to the vehicles.”

Game wardens confiscated 30 wood ducks from four people on an after-hours Toombs County roost shoot. The limit, had the shoot been during legal hours, would be 12 woodies.

“One of the suspects left the area in a smaller truck, and Sgt. Moore just missed this vehicle. The other vehicle stayed at the location and two individuals went back into the water to pick up more ducks. When those two individuals went back to the truck, I could see through night vision as they were throwing ducks into the back of the truck, which looked like a full-sized Chevrolet truck. As the vehicle left, I watched them drive back toward the house while I communicated with Sgt. Moore over the phone. The suspects were at no time out of our sight. Sgt. Moore stopped the vehicle in the yard of the house. The suspects had 30 wood ducks and gave us the name of the individual who had left earlier.”

Four suspects—ages 74, 51, 19 and 17—were charged, three with hunting waterfowl after hours and over the bag limit, and one with hunting waterfowl after hours.   

McIntosh County: On July 17, 2021, Georgia Game Wardens conducted a saltwater patrol in McIntosh County. The patrol concentrated on intercepting offshore fishing vessels that were inbound from Federal Waters. Game Wardens performed a vessel stop on an off-white Sailfish center-console boat occupied by four people. The vessel had offshore fishing gear and tackle onboard.

The captain of the vessel was asked if there were any fish onboard the boat. The captain advised that they were in possession of two black sea bass. After checking the vessels boating safety equipment and the occupant’s Georgia fishing licenses, Game Wardens asked the occupants again if there were any fish on board. The captain answered, “Some sea bass and pogies.”

Game Warden Griffis boarded the vessel to observe the catch. The captain opened his cooler, and several Atlantic red snapper were visible. Game Warden Griffis asked the captain where the fish were caught, to which he answered “R2,” referencing the R2 Navy Tower located approximately 35 miles off the coast of Georgia. Game Warden Griffis asked how many Atlantic red snapper were on board, and “seven or eight” was the response. The fish were taken from the cooler and placed on the deck of the boat. A total of 10 Atlantic red snapper, two black sea bass and one grunt were in the cooler.

The two black sea bass were measured, the first being 11.5 inches and the second one was found to be 11.75 inches. Game Warden Griffis asked the captain if he knew the minimum size limit for black sea bass in Federal Waters. The captain responded, “Ten inches.” Griffis advised the captain that in Federal Waters black sea bass must be a minimum of 13 inches long. Identification for all occupants were obtained by Griffis. Game Warden Griffis attempted to determine which occupant caught or kept the illegal fish. Two occupants disputed that they each individually solely caught the fish. Game Warden Griffis told the two occupants that it was important for transparency to know who caught what fish. A female occupant stated that she caught the fish, being that it was her first violation, she would take responsibility. The captain stated that the female caught most of the fish, although he did catch some of them.

After documenting the catch, Game Warden Griffis advised the occupants that a Federal Referral would be made to the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement for the violations of under-sized black sea bass and possessing the Atlantic red snapper out of season. The NOAA Office of Law Enforcement issued a Summary Settlement to the occupants of the boat. A $1,000 settlement was paid for the federal violations.

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