There may be a million ways to poach, which simply means there’s a million ways to get caught. Reminds me of an unusual poaching case involving a guy we will nickname, Rick, for the sake of this true story.
I met Rick when he was applying to become a volunteer hunter education instructor. Our agency – Oklahoma Depart of Wildlife Conservation – requires the local warden to meet, interview and perform a background check on applicants as part of the process.
I noticed on our first phone call discussion, Rick had a bit of a northern accent, so I ask him where was he from, originally. “New York,” Rick said. I had a brief but humorous vision of a salsa commercial and a rope.
All joking aside, I’d found a felony entry on Rick’s background check, indicating he’d either lied when checking the appropriate box on his application (that would disqualify him) or simply made a mistake. So, before rejecting his application, I made an appointment with Rick to go by his house for a chat.
He’d been very friendly up to this point but after mentioning the reason for my visit, he sounded a bit agitated. This was either going to be a “Dear John” visit following verification of his conviction, or a “welcome to our group” meeting, assuming we could dispel the criminal allegation.
After a discussion, I learned the crime reported on the background check was accurate; he admitted to feeling embarrassment for what he described as a youthful mistake.
Sitting in his living room, and wanting to divert from the distasteful topic at hand, I began admiring the unique rack of Rick’s big buck mount on his rock fireplace. The unusual 14-point didn’t demonstrate much in the way of quality taxidermy work, but I bragged to Rick on the size and distinctive antler frame of his trophy.
Read the rest of “Hunter-Ed Applicant Fails to ‘Watch’ for Photo of Illegal Deer” on OutdoorChannel.com.