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Case File  #26   May 2010

An Outstanding Nighthunting Case

On November 13, 2009 at 1:00AM, Warden Rick Ouellette received an Operation Game Thief complaint from a concerned citizen who called to report that poachers had just killed a deer and the concerned citizen actually was holding the poachers waiting for the arrival of game wardens. While enroute to the scene, Warden Ouellette called the complainant and he stated that a car drove up into his fields, light up a deer and a high-powered rifle was fired from the vehicle. The complainant advised that he chased the vehicle to an abandoned house and was not allowing them to leave.

Upon arrival, the complainant handed Warden Ouellette an empty .270 rifle casing that he picked up in the road where the poachers shot the deer from. Inside the poacher's vehicle were four individuals, however, no weapons were found. Wardens Dave Georgia and Skip Bates arrived at the scene to assist Warden Ouellette in the case. Warden Paul Farrington also arrived with his canine to try and find the firearm. The four occupants were quickly separated, interviewed with all telling the same story ... the poachers saw two doe deer in a field and fired and immediately drove to the abandoned house and hid the rifle once they realized they were being followed.

Sgt. Adam and Warden Bates went to the scene of the shooting to try and recover the deer, found a blood trail and decided to return in the morning to try and locate the deer. The next morning, the dead deer was found.

How did the poachers do in court? Both the driver and the passenger who did the shooting were found guilty of nighthunting, fined $1,000, spent 3 days in jail, as well as loss of hunting privileges for a year. The expensive Browning BAR was also forfeited. The occupants of the back seat were not charged as the wardens determined they did not have anything to do with the poaching incident except for being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

This was an Operation Game Thief call where a concerned citizen went far and above what is expected of any individual reporting a poaching incident. The citizen felt so strongly about poaching that he took an active role in helping Maine game wardens apprehend these thieves. What did the wardens do with the deer? They gave the deer to the concerned citizen as appreciation for the call.

This was truly an outstanding Operation Game Thief complaint!


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