From wild hogs to trespassing to water fowl, the number of offenders is enough to make you keep shaking your head

They just keep on coming, and they also just keep on getting caught. 

Of course I’m talking about those dumb outdoor crooks. And if recent news reports are any indication, this group of halfwits and nitwits seems to be growing at an ever-increasing rate. Here are a few of the most recent examples.

In Walthall County, Mississippi, conservation officers received a tip from a “concerned citizen” that some people were transporting and selling wild hogs in violation of state game regulations. Since wild pigs are rapidly becoming the meat of choice across much of the South, especially when barbeque is mentioned in the same sentence, they took that tip very seriously.

An undercover investigation was begun and contacts were made. The officers discovered that these yahoos were actually trapping hogs in both Louisiana and Mississippi, then transporting them to Walthall County where they were sold to various “safe” sources. And then the hammer fell.

Christopher Miley and Mandy Miley, both of Franklinton, Louisiana, were charged with importation of wild hogs, transporting wild hogs without a permit, unlawful selling of wild hogs, and unlawful trapping in Mississippi without first obtaining the appropriate license. And Bethanie Toothman, Sulphur, Louisiana, and Sierra Miley, Tylertown, Mississippi, were both charged with unlawful sale of wild hogs.  

These four yahoos were trapping live wild hogs in both Louisiana and Mississippi, transporting them to their holding pen in Walthall County, then selling them to buyers across two states and they never once thought they might get caught? In my opinion that kind of stupidity, all by itself, is worth a year in jail. However, it is up to a judge to extract justice in the near future. We can only hope that she or he will see the seriousness of these crimes and act accordingly.

* * *

Another case involving two dummies occurred a little closer to our area. NY ECO Christopher Lattimer received a trespassing complaint from a landowner. It seems the complainant had a trail camera set up on Nov. 22, 2016, and one photo clearly showed two “hunters” dragging a doe deer out of the area. 

The only problem was that the landowner could not identify either of the men at that time. 

Fast forward to Jan. 11. (Here is where the dummies blew it big time) The complainant called ECO Lattimer and stated that he overheard one of the hunters bragging about that poached doe deer at a party. The man was able to get the name of the hunter, and he gave it to the officer. ECO Lattimer conducted some interviews, finally managing to locate the hunter, and got an admission of  trespassing on the complainant’s property. Then came the excuses. This yahoo stated he had shot the deer on a neighboring property and tracked it onto the complainant’s property. 

He also stated that he originally thought the deer was a buck and did not realize it was a doe until he found it. He then admitted to not tagging it because he did not have a Deer Management Permit for that area. This dummy was issued appearance tickets for the illegal taking of protected wildlife and for taking a doe without a permit. 

* * *

Here is a report that really ticks me off because of my past employment. It seems that, on  Jan. 15, 2017, two off duty ECOs (Scott Angotti and Josh Crain of Region 7) were waterfowl hunting on Owasco Lake in the town of Scipio. While they were attempting to enjoy themselves, they observed three individuals “water-sluice” or shoot a large flock of redhead ducks that were in the process of swimming into the men’s decoy spread. 

The three yahoos all emptied their shotguns into the flock, killing a total of 35 Redhead ducks and probably wounding several others. The two off-duty ECOs immediately contacted the local ECO (Scott Sincebaugh), and then they approached the three hunters and identified themselves. 

ECO Sincebaugh arrived a short time later and issued each of the “hunters” tickets for taking over the aggregate limit of ducks, as well as taking over the daily limit of redheads. One of the three yahoos was also charged with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, hunting without a license, and not participating in the Harvest Information Program. 

I know from past experience that fully 90 percent of all waterfowl hunters are honest and law-abiding to a fault. It is people like these three yahoos that manage to give all of the legitimate hunters a black eye. And I give a heart-felt well done to each of the three ECOs.

* * *

Not all outdoor dummies hunt and/or fish. Some of them are known for the company they keep. On March 11, ECO Wesley Leubner was on patrol in the Westchester and Putnam counties area when he heard a news report of a venomous snake bite on Staten Island. He contacted Richmond County (Staten Island) ECO Michael Hameline regarding the report. 

It seems that a man had been bitten on the hand by a deadly Gaboon viper, and was transported to Jacobi Medical Center in Bronx County. 

The subject was fortunate that the bite was a “dry” bite, meaning that no venom was injected into his hand. On March 12, ECOs Hameline and J.T. Rich interviewed the subject, who admitted to possessing both snakes (the other was a protected boa) without the required permits. The subject was issued a summons for violating NYC Law pertaining to illegal pets, as well as a summons from the DEC for possessing a venomous reptile without a permit.

Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at lisenbee@frontiernet. net