(KTVI) – Hunting deer out of season using dogs led to 46 Missouri convictions in federal court. The fines total about $65,000. Chris Morrow is with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
This investigation was called “Operation Pulling Wool” and dates back to 2008 and took place on federal land.
Illegally hunting deer with the aid of dogs is a form of poaching.
You can stop illegal hunting by calling in to Operation Game Thief.
You can remain anonymous and rewards might be possible.
What is “deer dogging”?
- Dogs are used to chase deer toward known deer crossings
- Shooters are stationed there to kill the deer as they come by
- Marine band and CB radios often used to communicate between chasers and shooters
- Deer doggers often use ATVs to give them an extra advantage
- Deer dogging activity often trespasses onto private lands
- Sometimes involves the dangerous practice of shooting over public roadways the deer cross
- Disrupts legal hunters and ethical hunting
- Can negatively impact deer populations
- A persistent problem in the Ozarks of south-central Missouri
Case Specifics - Operation Pulling Wool
· Investigation began in the Fall of 2008, when MDC’s special investigations unit set up a special operation to begin targeting the illegal poaching activity in Ripley County
· Much of the activity took place on U.S. Forest Service land
· MDC was joined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Attorney`s office in St. Louis in partnership on the operation
· Wrapped up the case on April 25 when the last defendant charged was found guilty by a U.S. Magistrate in Cape Girardeau
· 46 individuals found guilty in Federal court of hunting deer with the aid of dogs
· Additional 6 defendants found guilty of a total of 9 state wildlife violations in Ripley County in conjunction with the case
· Combined fines from all 52 defendants was over $69,000
· In addition, hunting privileges of all defendants were revoked for 1-3 years
Operation Game Thief:
· Missourians care about their wildlife!
· Anyone seeing illegal hunting activity should call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-392-11-11
· Give as much information as possible
· Callers remain anonymous
· If tips lead to a conviction, up to $1,000 reward is available