Conservation Agents Ramp Up Enforcement with New Method
The last couple of years, conservation agents have implemented a new enforcement tool to check for transportation and Telecheck permit compliance. The process goes like this. Spotters stand on the shoulder of a highway overpass and observe vehicles traveling below them. If a spotter sees a deer or parts of a deer in plain view or attached to a vehicle or trailer, they radio a description of the vehicle to agents positioned on down ramps. An alerted agent then stops and checks the deer and hunters for compliance with current deer transportation regulations.
Central Region Protection staff conducted an overpass compliance check in 2010 in Callaway County. Conservation agents stopped 37 vehicles, and the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department stopped an additional five. Seventy-seven individuals were accounted for in those stops, with 54 harvested deer observed. Law enforcement agents observed 23 resource violations and one other violation. They wrote 12 warnings and issued nine resource citations during this special patrol. Written warnings were given for failure to attach the remainder of the permit with the Telecheck confirmation number to the harvest. Citations were issued for hunting without permit, illegal transport of deer or parts thereof, violation of the four-point restriction and failure to tag immediately. Five illegal deer were seized and given to needy families in Callaway County. The Missouri Department of Conservation was assisted by the Callaway Sheriff's Department with support from the Fulton Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Most violations observed during this patrol could have been avoided by reading the most current deer regulations that are printed every year and available at all permit vendors or Missouri Department of Conservation offices. However, some of the violations observed were deliberate. Because of this, conservation agents will continue to use the overpass compliance check to deter poaching.