Most people have seen the signs on some highway that says “Speed Limit Enforced by Aircraft,” and I like to think its done with Apaches but probably not. Little did I know that some wildlife enforcement agencies are doing the same thing to catch poachers (unfortunatly they don’t use Apaches either). They make use of “spotter planes” that direct other officers on the ground. This is very convenient when there is a lot of ground to cover.
The latest example of game wardens using this tactic comes from Oklahoma. Offices called in a plane to help bust a group of poachers using ATV’s and spotlights to kill deer. They posted the following account to their Facebook page.
At approximately 10 pm on Friday night Game Warden Chris Stover (Stephens County) spotted what appeared to be a vehicle headlighting south of his location. Stover radioed the spotter plane which was working that area of Jefferson County. Game Warden Blake Pearson (Kingfisher County), who was serving as the spotter on the plane, confirmed Stover’s sighting and located what turned out to be two separate spotlights (see video in comments). Game Wardens Michael Zimmerman (Grady County), John Grellner (Canadian County), and Mark Murray (Oklahoma/Canadian Counties) all converged on the area where the lights were working. With the help of the plane, the Wardens were eventually able to contact the three subjects, who were using 4 wheelers and UTVs to aid in their nighttime hunting activities. The subjects were in possession of several high powered rifles and three whitetail bucks. After a short interview it was determined that two of the subjects had hidden several guns and a bag of ammunition in an attempt to avoid them being seized. Eventually the subjects led Warden Murray to the location of the hidden guns. All three bucks had been taken illegally using the hand held lights from the ATV/UTVs. The subjects were issued citations for hunting with the aid of a motorized conveyance, headlighting, and possession of wildlife not legally taken. The weapons used were seized as evidence of the case. The deer were donated to local families in need.
The video on the incident is pretty cool you can see the spotlight working and there is no doubt what is going on.
Posted by Oklahoma Game Wardens on Saturday, November 17, 2018
We are glad they were able to get these guys. Hopefully it deters others from doing the same thing. You never know when the eye in the sky will be watching you.