Conservation, News, Poaching

One of the whitetail deer, shot and left to rot. Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

Leon County, Texas. USA.

 

Texas wildlife authorities have brought a three month “road hunting rampage” to an end.

Six individuals, four adults and two juveniles, are in custody for various crimes committed from June 4 through August 29. The six held in custody are facing more than 175 state felony charges for poaching, destruction of private property, various firearm offences and over a dozen burglaries.

“This investigation represents one of, if not the most egregious poaching cases I am aware of in my 41 years in law enforcement,” said Col. Craig Hunter, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Director in a press release.

The six allegedly traveled the roads of Leon County and killed numerous animals including 68 whitetail deer and unspecified numbers of vultures, squirrels, foxes, feral hogs, doves, ducks, cormorants, house cats, blue herons, alligators, white egrets, armadillos and raccoons. Most of these animals were shot from the road and left to rot where they fell. Other targets included mailboxes, stop signs, parked vehicles and livestock. It is reported that one cow was hacked to death by a machete.

One of the livestock shot dead. Another was hacked to death by a machete. Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

One of the livestock shot dead. Another was hacked to death by a machete. Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

The events went unreported until early September.

“It amazes me that over a three-month period these young men likely fired hundreds of rounds of ammo, most of which were at night and in various locations, and no one reported gunshots or suspicious activity until September,” said supervising game warden Capt. Mike Hanson. “Not a single call.”

Texas authorities seized nine firearms from the alleged perpetrators, including a .270 hunting rifle and .22 rimfire rifle. The .22 was even outfitted with a homemade silencer.

Four of the firearms seized by Texas authorities. Note the homemade silencer on the barrel of the .22 caliber rifle. Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

Four of the firearms seized by Texas authorities. Note the homemade silencer on the barrel of the .22 caliber rifle. Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

After the heinous and indiscriminate nature of the killings and shootings became clear, landowners, wildlife authorities and local and state law enforcement joined ranks to catch the perpetrators.

“Simply put, open communication is the cornerstone of solid police work and without great interagency cooperation this investigation would not have been a success,” Hunter said.

Landowners in the area of the rampage recounted hearing gunshots, but believed that people were hunting feral hogs. Hunting feral hogs at night is legal in Texas year-round.

If charged and convicted, the alleged perpetrators face lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.

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