Deer poaching on the rise

Deer poaching on the rise

SOUTHWEST OKLAHOMA (KSWO) -Oklahoma Game Wardens are seeing a rise in poaching cases across the state and they need your help to solve them.

District 7 Chief, Jeff Headrick with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife says its that time of year where the deer are moving, which means the rut is on. Bucks are chasing does, so people know that and take advantage of easily and illegally hunting deer.

Just in October alone in Southwest Oklahoma, multiple deer and elk have been left for dead and the meat gone to waste.

"I think part of it is just greed," said
District Chief and Oklahoma Game Warden, Jeff Headrick. "Guys here, their buddy killed a big buck and they want to kill one and it's just a domino effect after that.

We told you about this 8 point buck that was shot illegally earlier this month in Altus. In Comanche County, two elk were shot the same week. And most recently, in Harmon County, these 3 deer were shot and killed... all left in the field.

"They can face several thousand dollars worth in fines," said Headrick. "If a guy poaches a trophy buck, the restitution alone on that buck is 5 thousand dollars."

Headrick says the consequences can vary by county, but he feels poaching needs to be taken more seriously in a court of law.

"They compare deer to drug charges," said Headrick. "That kind of stuff. Some don't look at it like it's near as important. To us, as Game Wardens, it's just as important. You take a guy going out spotlighting at night , firing a high powered rifle. We have cattle shot every year. We have houses shot occasionally, so that's pretty dangerous."

He says it all starts with education and teaching kids and adults who hunt the rules, guidelines and proper ways to harvest a deer.

"I think some guys they don't know any better," said Headrick. "Now, once you reach a certain age, obviously everybody knows better but some guys, that's how grandpa hunted, that's how dad hunted"

Headrick reminds residents to keep an eye out and don't be scared to report something suspicious.

"If they'll call one of us," said Headrick. "Nobody will ever know, but us and them that they called. I've literally had wives turn in husbands over the years. I've had brothers turn in brothers. I'm talking adults and not kids. To this day, they don't have a clue who turned them in but I was able to make good cases on them."

If you have any information about any of these poaching cases in Jackson, Comanche or Harmon County, you can contact the game warden in that county.

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