Officers Finally Catch Illegal Poachers
By The Daily Courier
Arizona Game and Fish law enforcement officers refused to admit defeat during a three-year investigation into illegal mourning dove shootings, and their efforts paid off this month.
Lester D. Deese, 82, and Lester G. Deese, 58, both of Lake Havasu City, were charged with shooting mourning doves and leaving them to waste, littering while hunting, and careless misuse of firearms (shooting across roads).
With the opening of this year’s dove season, officers – acting on information from the previous two years – conducted surveillance. They saw the Deeses shoot 14 mourning doves and then drive away without picking them up.
Their actions matched the reports Game and Fish received two years ago.
Jes Antolik, investigator for the Game and Fish Region III office in Kingman, noted the importance of providing as much detail as possible when reporting a violation to the Game and Fish Operation Game Thief (OGT).
“Getting a license plate is a very large piece of information that a reporting party can give to officers,” Antolik said. “While any information is appreciated, a license plate is a great place to start. A license plate alone leads to a vehicle description, make, model, color, year, and the registered owner’s name and address.”
Antolik reminds the public these are not the actions of hunters.
“The waste of game meat is an illegal act and represents theft from all the citizens of Arizona,” Antolik said. “Actions such as these can tarnish the conservation efforts made by true hunters in protecting and enhancing wildlife populations throughout the state.”
Antolik reminds the public that the best method for reporting violations is through the OGT hotline at (800) 352-0700. Violations also can be reported via the Internet at www.azgfd.gov/thief. Caller identities will remain confidential through this reporting method.
“It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s effective,” Antolik said. “As in this case, we pursued the leads we had and the results are rewarding. We need the help of the public to bring individuals to justice.
“I think this shows the system works.”