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Case File  #54   July 2013

Illegal Turkey Hunting

On May 11, 2013, Maine Game Warden Peter Herring received an anonymous tip from Operation Game Thief that two different groups of teenagers were illegally killing wild turkeys. The information indicated in one case that a boyfriend and girlfriend had illegally hunted turkeys and in the second case, two brothers had shot extra turkeys and had their father tag them under their father's tag.

On the morning of May 12th, Warden Herring went to the residence of one of the groups in the town of West Baldwin in southern Maine. The information was that the teenager had shot more turkeys than he was allowed and his girlfriend shot one without a license. Warden Herring was greeted at the door by the poacher and his girlfriend. The warden sat down with them to discuss their involvement. The poacher stated he sot and tagged a turkey on April 30th and then shot a turkey on May 8th but the bird was not tagged. He stated that after he shot the second bird, he purchased a tag but decided not to tag it and discarded the turkey on the side of a road in the town of Hiram. He also said that on May 7th, he and his girlfriend went turkey hunting and she shot a bird. After concluding the conversation, the warden asked the two if they would show him where they dumped the turkey and they agreed. Warden Herring asked them why they discarded the bird. They said they wanted to get the bird mounted but when they realized they didn't have the money to have it mounted, it had spoiled so they got rid of it. Additional investigation showed that the male had tagged the turkey.

The male was issued a summons for Possession of Turkey Taken in Violation and the girlfriend was issued a summons for Hunting Turkey without a Valid Permit and given a warning for not tagging the turkey.

On May 14th, Warden Herring went to the residence  of the second group of teenagers in the town of Cornish in southern Maine and was greeted by the father. Warden Herring explained why he was there and that he would like to sit and speak with the Dad and his two sons regarding the allegations. They sat at the kitchen table and the father and two sons admitted that the information was accurate. Both sons admitted to each shooting an extra turkey that they did not have the tag for. The father further admitted to purchasing two tags and had tagged both birds. Both boys admitted to shooting two birds without having a tag for them and the Dad falsely tagged two turkeys (one from each of his sons).

The Dad was issued a summons for Possession of Wild Turkey taken in violation (false registration) and the boys were each issued a summons for possession of Wild Turkeys Taken in Violation (exceeding bag limit). Because of the cooperation of the father and the two boys, the warden thanked them for their truthfulness and, because of their truthfulness, they would not be charged $1,000, three days in jail as well as loss of their firearms. The warden did warn all of them that if there were another violation they would get no leniency.

One call to Operation Game Thief resulted in five summonses being issued to district court for illegally hunting Wild Turkeys. These violations were committed by teenagers and a parent. It is the hope of all concerned sportsmen and women that young people be taught to obey our fish and wildlife laws. It is also the hope that parents set good examples for their children so that they are raised to respect our fish and wildlife laws. Thanks for the anonymous complainant who took the time to report the illegal violation.

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