Deer poaching on the rise in Oklahoma

Deer poaching on the rise in Oklahoma
Deer season is currently closed and does not begin until October 1st, but multiple deer carcasses have been found across the state, including in southwest Oklahoma. Two deer, a fawn and a doe, were found shot about five or six weeks ago in Jackson County. The carcasses were left to rot. It is believed whoever killed them did it at night and did not know exactly what they shot. It is almost as if they shot the animal, figured out is was not a buck, and so they just left it and drove off.

There have been many other reports of poached deer and suspicious activity across the state.

"I've had several calls, myself, here in Jackson County, that were similar activities," said Jackson County Game Warden, Daniel Perkins. "Spotlighting, vehicles driving through fields, in and around fields, stuff like that, that are being reported and being called in."

Finding the poachers is often difficult for game wardens due to the lack of evidence and witnesses, so they encourage the community to call an anonymous hotline to report any wildlife crimes.

"It's really just a 50/50 chance you may have some piece of evidence," said Perkins. "You may have nothing at all. No witness, no anything. We really, really, really do encourage people if they do see something or if they do know something, to come forward about it. Either contact the Operation Game Thief 1-800 number, or to contact their local game warden."

Poachers can rack up citations and fines reaching over $1,000.

"If they're doing it at nighttime they're headlighting. You can not take wild life with the use of a light assistance device in the state of Oklahoma," said Perkins. "If they're shooting from a public roadway, that's another charge. Going back to the landowner, whose land that the deer are on... When you have something like that, when you have hunting without landowner consent, that's an additional charge that can be brought."

These charges can cause poachers to have to forfeit not only their weapons and firearms, but also their hunting privileges.

"Oklahoma is in the wildlife violators compact, which, that means they, the individual, if they commit a specific wildlife crime, they can have their rights to hunt revoked for a period of time," said Perkins. "If you're revoked in the state of Oklahoma, that can also lead you to being revoked in several other states across the United States."

Because of that, Perkins says poaching just is not worth it.

"Be like everyone else, the vast majority of sportsman, and do things the way they should be done, and that's by the book," said Perkins.

JACKSON COUNTY, Ok (RNN Texoma) - If you have any information on poached game, you are encouraged to call the Operation Game Thief number. It's 1-800-522-8039.

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