20 Days In November As A Game Warden

DNR Law Enforcement Ranger Doug Parker is assigned to Cobb County. Hereʼs a snapshot of his day-to-day activities over a 20-day period during the peak of Georgiaʼs deer season.

Brad Bailey | January 10, 2001

Doug Parker is one of 252 Georgia DNR Law Enforcement officers. Doug is assigned to Cobb County. He has been a conservation ranger for 12 months, after a stint with the Peachtree City Police Department. Doug, 31, who lives in Cobb County with his wife Stacey, has been involved in law enforcement for 10 years.

Hereʼs the day-to-day look at the work of a ranger from Nov. 8 through the Thanksgiving week of hunting season. The following compilation was taken both from Dougʼs account of his activity as written in his weekly activity reports with some additions from an interview with Doug. Some details have been omitted to protect ongoing investigations.

DNR Law Enforcement Ranger Doug Parker, who is assigned to Cobb County.

• Wednesday, Nov. 8: Met Cpl. Mike Barr at his residence and worked a detail with him in Cobb and Fulton counties checking license dealers who issue hunting licenses (Doug, dressed in civilian clothes walked into these stores and attempted to purchase a hunting license. The officers were checking to see whether dealers asked for hunter-education certification). Checked seven license dealers, only one issued the hunting license properly. The officers spoke with store managers and offered information about license sales. Three warnings were issued to store managers.

• Thursday, Nov. 9: Attended Intox 5000 training at Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, a recertification class for operation of a breath-alcohol analyzer. Law enforcement officers must be recertified every two years. Attended hunter-education program at Edʼs Gun & Tackle in Marietta with 70 people in attendance.

• Friday, Nov. 10: Checked a baited stand location in southwest Cobb County. Corn was being dispensed from a mechanical feeder. No one was present.

Cleaned equipment at residence. Met Sgt. Mitch Yeargin, Cpl. Chip Cox, Cpl. Dave Phillips and Ranger Sam OʼNeal at the Pine Log WMA check station (This was an informal staff meeting. Sgt. Yeargin is Dougʼs work-section sergeant). Returned to southwest Cobb and walked in about a mile to check the same baited stand. Bait still present, but no one hunting over it. Met Cpl. Chip Cox at his residence to assist with night-hunting detail in Bartow County in an area where Chip had received a series of complaints. Stayed in the area until 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning, but no activity.

• Saturday, Nov. 11: Checked baited stand in southwest Cobb County again. Still no activity, but bait still present. Patrolled northwest Cobb County. It is this area that produces most of the shots-fired and other complaints. Checked license of one bowhunter, who was in compliance with regulations. Spoke with resident who was out in his yard in a heavily hunted area. Introduced myself and left my card with him.

“Citizens are our first line of eyes and ears, and it helps to have them involved,” said Doug.

Met Cpl. Cox at the Lake Allatoona boat house and assisted with winterizing the DNR patrol boats. Patrolled Bartow County with Chip. Returned to southwest Cobb and rechecked baited stand; no activity.

• Sunday, Nov. 12: Patrolled northwest Cobb. Was checking bowhunterʼs license when a jogger stopped with information about illegal gun hunting. The bowhunter was in compliance. Worked on weekly activity report at my residence.

• Monday, Nov. 13: Washed my truck at Kennesaw Georgia State Patrol (GSP) office. Attended probate court in Bartow County concerning boating safety case made during the summer. Received a call to meet GSP Trooper on Ga. 400. State patrolman had stopped a pickup with a dead deer in the bed. The hunter had no licences on his person. Problem with my truck. Met with trooper at GSP Kennesaw and passed on information about hunter without licenses. Dropped my truck off at the Ford dealer in Kennesaw for repair.

• Tuesday, Nov. 14: Day off. (DNR rangerʼs days off rotate and vary according to court dates, etc.)

• Wednesday, Nov. 15: Day off.

• Thursday, Nov. 16: Met Cpl. Cox at my residence. Chip dropped me off at the Ford dealer to pick up my truck. Picked up my equipment at my residence. Went to the Kennesaw GSP to make calls to Cobb residents concerning affidavits to allow prosecution of trespassers. Called the DNR license unit to check on the license of person stopped on Ga. 400 with dead deer. Also called the region office in Calhoun and a resident who is not happy about presence of Canada geese (Doug said his days often begin by returning calls from a GSP office, sheriff department or local police department office. He said he receives five to 10 calls per day, on average, more during deer season). Researched via internet the new delayed-harvest trout regulations now in effect on a section of the Chattahoochee River in north Atlanta.

• Friday, November 17: Met Cpl. Mike Barr at his residence and rode with him to Wildlife Resources Division office in Social Circle for a meeting with Fisheries personnel regarding delayed-harvest trout regulations on the Chattahoochee River. During the afternoon, I rechecked baited stand location in southwest Cobb and located an individual hunting over corn and salt lick. Individual was released pending further investigation.

• Saturday, Nov. 18: Made return phone calls. Completed paperwork on October 28 drowning in Lake Acworth. Met with an individual to check property boundary where baited stand in southwest Cobb was located. Assisted Cpl. Barr with night-hunting detail in south Fulton County. We set up in two vehicles hidden along a section of road where numerous night-hunting complaints had been made. No shots were heard. Saw one vehicle spotlighting, but by the time we reached the area, the vehicle was gone.

Sunday, Nov. 19: Night-hunting detail in south Fulton continued until 5 a.m. Worked on weekly activity report at my residence.

• Monday, Nov. 20: Made phone calls to Douglas County Probation Office and Cobb County Tax Assessors.

• Tuesday, Nov. 21: Day off.

Wednesday, Nov. 22: Day off.

Thursday, Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day: Met with Sgt. Mitch Yeargin at Kennesaw GSP and patrolled northwest Cobb. Received complaint—in progress—about a deer that had been shot with rifle in Cobb County. Sgt. Yeargin and I met the complaintant and canvassed the area.

(According to Doug, the complaintant had been seeing two bucks regularly. On Thanksgiving morning the two bucks and a doe were in his backyard and the individual was videotaping them. One buck and the doe suddenly ran off, leaving the other buck, a nice 8-pointer, standing there. Just as the individual lowered his video camera, a shot was fired and the buck fell. No one emerged from the woods to collect the buck, and it was still there when the officers arrived. The officers canvassed the area and spoke with several people in the area who had heard the shot, but had little other information. The investigation is continuing).

Met Sgt. Yeargin at the Canton GSP office and assisted him with a night-hunting detail in Cherokee County. Stopped a suspicious vehicle that we thought may have been spotlighting. The driver turned out to be DUI, and he was turned over to GSP troopers.

Friday, Nov. 24: Received a call from Cpl. Barr to check taxidermy/deer-cooler records in reference to a hunter Cpl. Barr checked in south Fulton County concerning failure-to-record-harvest violation. Checked records at taxidermy shop and determined that the hunter had left a deer. Went to Acworth Police Department and called Cpl. Barr and made other calls. Met with Cpl. Cox and Ranger Sam OʼNeal at Cartersville GSP and assisted with deer-decoy detail in Bartow County. Placed one decoy in a field and had some lookers, but no cases made.

• Saturday, Nov. 25: Met with Cpl. Cox at Cartersville GSP and worked deer decoy detail with Sgt. Yeargin and Ranger OʼNeal in Bartow County. (Doug wore camos over his uniform and hid in the area near where a buck and doe decoy had been placed. The other officers were in vehicles at either end of the road.

“There were a lot of lookers,” said Doug. “One gentleman in particular stayed a long time looking before leaving. Later, the same truck, with a loud muffler, came back. I heard a door open and close and the truck went on. I saw someone walk into the kudzu patch. We decided to move in. I located one individual in the road, and identified myself as a ranger. While I was talking to him, I heard someone rack a cartridge into a bolt-action and turned to see another individual not 30 feet away in the kudzu who took a shot at the decoys with me standing there.”

Three cases were made against the road hunters.

In the afternoon, I assisted Cpl. Cox with night-hunting detail in Bartow County. No cases were made.

• Sunday, Nov. 26: Received a shots-fired call from northwest Cobb County. Monitored the area, but heard no more shots. Spoke with a resident living nearby. Received a spotlighting complaint in the same area. Monitored that area and located truck tracks coming out of the property, but found no further evidence. Spoke with the complaintant. (“The ʻshots-firedʼ complaints can be frustrating,” said Doug. “Usually, by the time you get there, everything is over—but eventually, one day I will be sitting there when it happens.”)

Monday, Nov. 27: Made calls concerning Cobb County Sheriff Department Warrants Division and Probation office. Got oil changed in my truck. Met with Cobb County Narcotics Commander and officers. (Occasionally, DNR rangers discover illegal marijuana patches as they patrol the woods.) Continued follow-up investigation of 8-point buck shot in west Cobb.

“I always wanted to be a ranger,” said Doug. “I love the outdoors and I love to hunt and fish. Every day I am doing something different, and the assignments change with the hunting seasons.”

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