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BUSTED..but innocent

Old 11-01-2002, 09:51 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Southwest oklahoma ok USA
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Default BUSTED..but innocent

Two of my buddies were busted last week for spot lighting...but here is story. The three of us were camped out on property owned by one these two friends, this is land that we hunt every year. I had to go to work or I'd be involved in this also. Late monday evening buddy
#1 shoots a nice buck within legal hunting hours. Buck takes off and makes it into some dence brush. Buddy #2 hears shot and comes to see what #1 had shot. They decide to give deer a little time to lay up before start searching for him. When they do start looking, they realize the deer went farther than expected. It is beginning to get dark and they continue to trail the deer. One of them have a flash light and use it to trail the deer,all the time finding good blood and locations where deer had laid down. Some where in this process,they are hailed and told to put down weapons. Gamewarden is there. All are legal and carry proper ID. Warden charges them with spotlighting. No amount of talk could convince him otherwise. They are hauled off to jail, weapons confiscated. I get the call to come bail them out. Waiting on a court date. We can not believe this is happening. They have talked with lawyer but they should never have been put in this position, Its a huge pile of crap!!! Lawyer says it would all be easier to just pay fines, several 100$ each, but it would be on their records. What the heck do you do?
hopalong is offline  
Old 11-01-2002, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Carrollton GA USA
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Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

That is freakin' awful. I hate the thought that honest people could get into so much trouble over nothing. Some of those game wardens have a chip on their shoulder, some but not all, I hope ya'll get everything straitened out, and let everybody know what happens.
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Old 11-01-2002, 10:12 PM
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Location: Go DAWGS! Georgia...
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Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

Man that's crazy. I had no idea that you could be busted for looking for a deer you shot after dark? I think it is safe to say that all of us hunters have to pulled out the flash lights to track track game after dark,or just to be able to see our way back to camp.

How big of flash light were your buddies useing? Was it big enough to cause doubt on the warden part? Did the warden take the time to check out the blood trail?

Bad luck, the warden must of been upset about somthing.

Sorry to hear the news.

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Old 11-01-2002, 10:53 PM
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Location: Southwest oklahoma ok USA
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Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

Buddies each had a flashlight. One was a mini Mag with two AA batteries, The other light was just a two cell light with size D battery. Game warded would not listen to them. I realize that I was not there but also know the character off the two. Neither have any type of record or history with the gamewarden and since I hunt with them regularly know them as two upstanding middle aged men. They went along with everything the warden requested and they told me that they
were not smart A$$es. Only thing we can find out about this warden is that he is not from local area and that he was in the area because there had been alot of complaints about road hunters. Buddies were on own property several hundred yds from a road and on foot. I have been trying to contact the local warden since I have met him a few times in the past. Buddies live about 40 miles away and I live with in a few miles of the our hunting spot. Just trying to figure this whole thing out.
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Old 11-01-2002, 11:08 PM
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Old 11-01-2002, 11:56 PM
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Location: Saskatchewan Canada
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Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

Yeah it does suck and think a warning would've been the better route. GW sounds like he either had a Poacher in the area(and thought your buds were it) or a power trip. You must have a law that say no loaded guns after legal. Here we have the same law, if you wound a deer, you can track it with your firearm after dark....but unloaded. The GW's have no way to know if you shot it legally though, so Blood Trail is moot. Not to defend his actions here, but poachers (which he thought your buds were) are known to lie. As far as legal action, "if" you have a law stating it is unlawful to possess a firearm after legal even while tracking wounded game (most place do for safety reasons), than really nothing you can do, sorry. Obviously the lawyer they consulted feels the same way. I wish I could give you a better answer, but law is law. It usually is up to the GW if they enforce it and what degree. In this case he took it all the way, which really sucks.

Maybe the old saying "one to grow on". Next time either track without the weapon or come back the next morning to make it legit.

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Old 11-02-2002, 12:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: A shack in Arkansas
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Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

Ok the first thing i would do is research. here the law concerning the use of a spotlight in your nieghbor arkansas: <BLOCKQUOTE id=quote<font size=1 face='Verdana, Arial, Helvetica' id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote> 5-67-106. Use of spotlight.

(a) It shall be unlawful to use a spotlight from any public road, street, or highway except for use by:

(1) A law enforcement officer, game and fish officer, emergency service worker, or utility company employee in the
performance of his duties;

(2) A person or his employee to examine real or personal property or livestock owned or rented by the person; or

(3) A person to assist in the repair or removal of a motor vehicle or other property.

(b) This section shall not apply within the boundaries of a city of the first class or a city of the second class.

(c) A violation of this section shall be a Class C misdemeanor

<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face='Verdana, Arial, Helvetica' size=2 id=quote>

Now in arkansas it is legal to shine a spotlight on your property or leased(rented).
Now i looked at the definition of night hunting and i don't see this fitting it.
If it was me i would do some research in oklahoma. get my stuff straight. game wardens have supervisors .i would write a letter ,tasteful and professional, and express your problem with the arrest. send a copy of the law like this one above . and any others that you can find that pertain. this shows your serious. I would stress that you were only intending to find the game as the agency would want you to do. you did have firearms due to the late time it was shot and they couldn't be left unsecured. see what the response is. you would be basically filing a complaint. which the GW isnt going to like . it doesn't hurt you just makes him have to explain his actions which is ok .
Now if that doesnt work you go to court. you can defend yourself . it will be in a municipal court or low court. you can question the officer . put him in the hot seat. he will give his side first. listen!!!!! and then you get to question him. be cool and think about your questions. you want to trip him up and get him frustrated. catch him in something and damage his credibility with the court. he may be good but do your best. then state your case ,show the law. then the pros. att is going to ask you questions . whatever you do be cool and calm. answer honest and don't tell to much.
also you need to request per Freedom of information act(foi)a copy of his arrest report and all document pertaining to the arrest. see what he says prior to court so you can question him on his documentation. a bad report will hurt him and help you.
You have nothing to lose except money and guns. you need to defend yourself. you can do it. just prepare .and research.

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Old 11-02-2002, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Adirondack Moutains USA Member since sept/02
Posts: 1,639
Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

Sounds like this game warden thinks he's dirty harry of the woods or something. Probably doesn't like deer hunters. He should have listened to there story and went and looked at the blood trail. If I where these guys I would fight this to the death. They're protecting there good name!!! Good luck!!!
model722 is offline  
Old 11-02-2002, 08:02 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Southwest oklahoma ok USA
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Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

Talked with local GW this am. off the record. He said Supervisor is
upset with the ticketing officer. Best protocall was not used in this situation. They are trying to figure out how to get out of this and still save face. They realize that they will have a hard time making this stick and much time wasted and lots of POed locals. I'll give the ticketing GW the doubt and realize that his is not the easiest job. He was out of his normal area, he did try to make radio contact with local GW during the offense but was not able to contact him. Guess he did his best, we all make wrong choices sometime. This is one of those cases. Just hope that this can be corrected.
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Old 11-02-2002, 08:04 AM
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Location: Ponce de Leon Florida USA
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Default RE: BUSTED..but innocent

Hate to say it, but something just don't sound right. They were several hundred yards off he road in dense brush with two small flashlights? It sounds like the game warden was investigating night hunting in the area. Often wardens will come in from out of area when the local wardens appear to be not doing their job for some reason. Wardens can't wander around in the woods at night just by chance running into a violator. Another thing that far off the road it would be extremely hard to see two small flashlights. Not being there, I'm very suspicious. A lawyer not willing to take the case is another thing. Try contacting another lawyer, preferably one that is a hunter, see what kind of judge it will go before and cross your fingers.

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