Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Justice Prevails

Here is an article that I found on one of my linksites that caught my eye and I thought everyone should read. Two Adults Charged, Two Juveniles Charged With Wild Turkey Shooting Spree “Reminiscent” Of Market Hunting Days


In what is one of most the flagrant poaching violations in recent memory, two Middle Tennessee adults have been cited with numerous illegal hunting charges after allegedly killing at least a dozen wild turkeys, while in the company of two juvenile hunters, during a weekend hunt open only to sportsmen under 16.

"This is perhaps the most blatant violation of the turkey game laws in recent history,” noted Jeff Skelton, an assistant law enforcement supervisor for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “This is reminiscent of market hunting that took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s when hunters nearly drove the wild turkey into extinction.”

Charged is Billy Joe Davidson of Lewisburg and Leonard Williams of Culleoka, who apparently took advantage of Tennessee’s annual Young Sportsman hunt and carried two young hunters—one 9 and one 14—on a shooting spree down the Duck River in Maury County, March 22-23.

"We think the poachers killed at least nine turkeys just on Sunday as they motored up and down the Duck River in a 16-foot flat bottom boat, shooting some turkeys off tree limbs that had roosted for the night and using a spotlight to locate others,” explained Skelton. “Adults are required to hunt with youngsters during this weekend, but not allowed to do any shooting. Even if they were allowed to shoot, the bag limit is one bird for the entire weekend.”

All four of the hunters have been charged with violations.

"The example set by the two adults is a shame by any standards, but we also believe the young hunters have responsibilities for their actions.” said Skelton. “We issued a search warrant for Davidson’s Lewisburg home after receiving a report from a concerned citizen. The search turned up 12 fresh turkey beards and 13 turkey breasts and other turkey meat.”

Charges are numerous, with Davidson being cited with hunting from a watercraft under power, spotlighting game, 10 counts of hunting, killing, possessing, and transporting turkeys in closed season; hunting after legal shooting hours, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Williams will be charged with hunting from a watercraft under power, spotlighting game, nine counts of hunting, killing, possessing and transporting turkeys in close seasons. He will also be charged with hunting after legal shooting hours, and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

The 14 year old is charged with hunting from a watercraft under power, spotlighting game, six counts of exceeding his bag limit, and one count of violating the state’s tagging law; shooting after legal shooting hours, and hunting without a wildlife management area permit.

The 9 year old is charged with hunting from a watercraft under power, spotlighting game, violation of the state’s tagging law, hunting without a wildlife management area permit, shooting after legal shooting hours, and two counts of exceeding the daily bag limit.

"We appreciate the tip that led to these arrests,” said Skelton. “The TWRA and the National Wild Turkey Federation have offered rewards to citizens that report and convict turkey poachers.”

In addition to the charges, wildlife officers seized three shotguns, a spotlight, and the flat bottom boat and a 25 horsepower motor. They also seized all of the turkey meat and various turkey parts.

The two adults are scheduled to appear in County General Sessions Court in Mt. Pleasant May 14th. The juveniles are scheduled to appear May 28th in Juvenile Court in Columbia.

Helping make the arrests were Skelton, Maury County Wildlife Officers Pam McDonald and Mark Ventura, Marshall County Wildlife Officer Doug Lowery, Giles County Wildlife Officer David Robertson, and Williamson County Wildlife Officer Joe Fortner.

2 comments:

Kristine said...

First of all, there's no excuse for what the adults did. I hope they get the maximum penalty allowable. Second, I'm glad the kids will face some consequences too. It's all very well to say the adults made them do it, but kids need to learn there are consequences for their actions.

The Adventurist said...

To be honest, it is quite sad that these kids introduction to the wild had to come like this. The act is shameful. It is a hard lesson to learn, but now this may influence any thought of future recreation outdoors for the kids. To bad they didn't have someone responsible teaching them the right way to do things. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.