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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have never really had any bad experiences with game wardens - just wondering if anyone else has or has not. I saw this article on KSL the other day. I just read the comments tonight and these people are really bashing the DWR...
Wondering what everyone thinks.
My guess is they have had a bad experience at some point to be this pissed. Maybe not as serious as poaching - but maybe fishing without a license - loaded firearm in there truck or something.


Article is pasted below..


Wildlife officers need your help tracking down poachers
January 18th, 2008 @ 6:03pm
(Warning: You will see dead game in the video)

Jed Boal reporting

Wildlife officers in Utah investigate 1600 poaching cases each year. Poaching is a persistent problem in our state, and the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) needs help with a number of unsolved cases.

Poachers flaunt the law and rob from our wildlife resources. In many cases they steal what they want and leave the carcasses to waste. Poaching is a maddening crime that keeps 40 wildlife officers busy year-round.

As the Elk hunt started last fall, wildlife officers tracked down poachers. Illegal hunters kill what they want, when they want to. Mike Fowlks, DWR chief of law enforcement, said, "It's not people trying to make a profit. It's people who are harvesting these trophy animals."

Utah has cultivated an abundance of trophy caliber big game, and more people head into the wilderness. "There are more people who come in contact with these animals. The temptation is there. You're going to have folks who, for whatever reason, will take a chance," says Fowlks.

Tipsters helped the DWR solve poaching cases in the fall, but unsolved cases need new leads.

In northeastern Utah, a poacher shot a trophy buck deer in November and left it to waste near Watson in the Book Cliffs Limited Entry Area. He says, "Some of it is a crime of opportunity. Some of it is calculated."

In the summer, a poacher shot four antelope, a buck, two does and a fawn, and left them on the Old Bonanza Highway. "When you have somebody who poaches one, they're cutting in line. They're taking these animals from legitimate sportsmen who paid their dues, and they're not happy about that."

The harm done by poachers doesn't only impact hunters, it affects all of us. Fowlks says, "Wildlife photographers, wildlife watchers, they like to see those animals out there too. So, when poaching occurs, it takes from them as well."

This winter, in the Henry Mountains a poacher shot a trophy buck deer, took the antlers and concealed the carcass in the Coyote Benches area. There's a $1,000 reward in that case.

"Most of the sportsmen out there are really good to work with, and in fact are our allies in combating this," says Fowlks.

Those convicted of poaching can face a third-degree felony charge, which could mean jail time and fines. A poacher caught with a trophy elk can face a fine of $8,000. The DWR says 95 to 98 percent of hunters follow the rules.

Anyone with information about these crimes should call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher Hotline at 1-800-662-DEER. For more information, click on the related link.
 

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I have been checked five times: 1 time duck hunting at age 12 or so, at age 15 dove hunting, 1 time fishing in my 20s and 2 times in my 40s (the last two years on the same ridge in Central Utah General Deer by two different officers, glad to see them cleaning hunting area). I welcome the checks and have always had an excellent experience with the officiers.
 

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I received a ticket this year for duck hunting without a license. I had bought a license and accidently left it at home when the real copy was mailed to me. When I told the fish cop he was very understanding and asked if I could call someone to get my HIP number off it or anything, when I couldn't he regretfully wrote me a ticket.

I told several people about it who all said "that sucks you got a ticket" to which I responded I am glad they ticket people who don't have proof of a license. I very easily could have been lying. After all the money I have shelled out for licenses I resent those who cheat the system.

I don't think you should be bitter/pissed off because you get ticketed while doing something wrong. :roll:

P.S. I showed my license to the judge and recieved a $10 fine instead of $170.
 

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I have been checked by the DWR officers all of the time while fishing and hunting. I see them as doing their job and policing/protecting the wildlife. Most of the time if you talk to them and be cool, they will give you information on where the game are at! I have had them ask me what I catch/shot, what I've seen, where I've seen them, etc. Every time they have passed information on to me.
 

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DEVIANT said:
I have been checked by the DWR officers all of the time while fishing and hunting. I see them as doing their job and policing/protecting the wildlife. Most of the time if you talk to them and be cool, they will give you information on where the game are at! I have had them ask me what I catch/shot, what I've seen, where I've seen them, etc. Every time they have passed information on to me.
Ditto.....everytime I've encountered an officer, it's been in a friendly and courteous manner. Even when I got nailed for the best duck hunt in my life at Howard Slough. By 8:00 am we had all limited out. The fish cop had watched us from the end of the dike and reminded us that legal shooting didn't start until 8:00 am due to it being the opening day of the pheasant hunt. DUH !!
He complimented us on our shooting, he refused to see our 'kills' and checked our license's and shotguns.
We got away with $114.00 fine...cheap, for what could have happened... :)

Jeez...I don't wanna go to work to-day....
 

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These men, ( and a few nice women I should add), dedicate their lives to their job as Conservation Officers.
They are here to conserve not only the statute, code, and wildlife they are sworn to protect.... They're out there everyday, in some of the most remote, dangerous backcountry in Utah, conserving the lifestyle we all so dearly love.
Ya the've hastled me once in a while for this or that, but like any LE, they are paid to be suspicious. but now after getting to know many of them in my favorite regions, I can honestly say that they are the some of the most seasoned LE in the state of Utah. Everything from DUI's to every kind of firearm violation possible(including restricted felons, which for LE are very dangerous bad guys who shouldn't have guns) to search and rescue, and dead body recovery.
All that and more, and they get paid $11 bucks starting wage.
 

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Every encounter I have had has ended pleasantly, I appreciate that they are there to do there job.

.45 said:
Ditto.....everytime I've encountered an officer, it's been in a friendly and courteous manner. Even when I got nailed for the best duck hunt in my life at Howard Slough. By 8:00 am we had all limited out. The fish cop had watched us from the end of the dike and reminded us that legal shooting didn't start until 8:00 am due to it being the opening day of the pheasant hunt. DUH !!
He complimented us on our shooting, he refused to see our 'kills' and checked our license's and shotguns.
We got away with $114.00 fine...cheap, for what could have happened... :)

Jeez...I don't wanna go to work to-day....
I was not aware that of that pheasant opening morning thing. Good thing I've never been out on those days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I guess all of these posts reaffirm what I was thinking. People on this forum are probably very ethical hunters, which has enabled them to have good contacts with game wardens. Whereas the people that posted the comments on KSL are probably hunters that have gotten into a bit of trouble.
I also had the same thing happen as scott_rn. But mine was fishing. He just told me that he has been lied to so many times and had to track down the person again so he could give them a ticket. He said that it is now in my ball park since I forgot my license. I simply showed it to the court and they only charged me for court fees. Some people would blow up and say that all game wardens are jerks. I just took care of it. It wasn't his fault I forgot my license. I have never forgot again.
I think being a game warden would be a great job but absolutely could be one of the most dangerous. From Sept. to Feb. most of the people they come across have a gun. In my last Outdoors Life issue, they rated dangerous jobs and being a game warden was close to the top of the list. It talked about problems in California with people growing Marijuana in the backcountry. You know that if a game warden came across these people they would not hesitate to shoot at the game warden.
 

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All my runins with wardens have come out good. When i was 14 the first year i really handle a rifle i didn't know all the laws and me and my brothers were road hunting ( I don't recomend) and my brother went on the wrong side of the road, well when we got pulled over i didn't know you could not have on in the chamber. Well after the tounge beat down ( which i deserved) alls he gave us was a ticket for was driving on the wrong side of the road. And then two years ago me and a friend was hunting on the extended and a warden actually hiked out to us and checked us, we both had are deer tags but i was the only one with the ethics course paper my friend just forgot to put it in his bag. he just told him to make sure he got it in his bag before going out again and then gave us some info on where the elk were at. I would love if they would go from camp to camp checking everything cause we always see people camping in a no four wheeler area and they have there four wheelers out and riding them.
 

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I have had nothing but good experiences with the Fish cops here in Utah. There is a guy who had checked me the last few years on the Archery hunt and i actualy have gotten to look forward to him stopping buy and bs'ing with him. One of the neatest times I have been chaecked was one day fishing the Provo river and two fish and game officers came down the river in Kayaks, I thought that was a pretty cool way to check poeple.

I had a bad experience in Wyoming once several years ago on the Greys river. We forgot to sign our licences and a very beleigerant and semi drunk fish cop (we could smell the whisky on him and saw a bottle in the truck :shock: ) gave us a very hard time about it. He eventaualy let us go and just told us to sign our licences. Most other Wyoming fish and game officers have been as great as Utah officers.

Mark
 

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truemule said:
I was not aware that of that pheasant opening morning thing. Good thing I've never been out on those days.
I'm not sure they still do that truemule....this was in the '70's and Utah still had wild pheasants at the time...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
truemule wrote:
I was not aware that of that pheasant opening morning thing. Good thing I've never been out on those days.

I'm not sure they still do that truemule....this was in the '70's and Utah still had wild pheasants at the time...
It is still the law. I was checked at Howard Slough this year and the game wardens in their camo clothes let me know that I had to wait until 8:00 to hunt because the Pheasant opener was that day.
 

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smackaquacker said:
In my last Outdoors Life issue, they rated dangerous jobs and being a game warden was close to the top of the list. It talked about problems in California with people growing Marijuana in the backcountry. You know that if a game warden came across these people they would not hesitate to shoot at the game warden.
:roll: When I lived in Oregon there were announcements in the newspaper warning people of growers who camp all summer long, stated that if you got close to their fields they would become hostile.

Also, Oregon seemed to be full of people who poached for food. I worked with guys who openly admitted they shot a doe blacktail deer anytime the freezer got low. Also, there were a lot of reports of people netting, shooting or intentionally snagging salmon just to fill the freezer. Seems like it has been done for years :(
 

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Been stopped by state, fed, park and refuge cops many times all over the country. Usually a pleasant experience.

Had 3 bad ones:
1. Officer spit chewing tobbaco on my shoe while chewing my butt out for using 2 fishing rods.

2. Officer shoved code book in my chest and made me read aloud chapter about signing carcass tags.

3. Had a search and seizure warrant served on me. Conservation officers searched my freezer, frigde, cupboards.....all of the house really. I found out they were coming a day in advance. So I had to get out the regs for three states and one Canadian Province then study the possesion limits, marking freezer packages, proof of species and sex, taxidermy records, blah, blah, blah. I had rabbits, quail, pheasants, ducks, geese, racoons, mink, deer, squirrels, turkey, turtles, frog legs, ginseng, and every king of fish found in North America. Boy I wasn't paying attention to my possession limits. The conservation officers were very rough with my personal belongings and the sheriffs just watched. They took a lot of stuff and never returned it. No ticket, but they could have got me for possessing deer meat from the previuos season. (For example: In many states you have to get rid of, say deer harvested with a gun from last year, before this year's gun deer opens.)

To make a long story short, it was a valuable learning lesson and I take account of what I possess, how long I possess it, how I store my licenses/tags, and how all is marked in storage.

I have never got a ticket, but should or could have.
 

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COOPERD said:
So, what kind of stuff did they take and keep?
Birds with no wings or heads attached.
Salami marked "deer salami", but no date.
Frozen fish, most with no patch of skin on them.
 

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My mother had a horrible run in with a fish cop. One morning just after being married, she was driving her old pick up home in South Jordan, when out of nowhere a pheasant flew in front of her and she nailed it. Looking at the pheasant at the side of the road (dead of course) she decided to throw it in the back of the truck to take home and eat. When she brought it in the house, my grandpa (dad's dad) immediately wrote her a ticket.

Is that cold? I'm open to suggestions.



:D
 

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As with any profession their are good and bad. When you read the post hear you will see one common denominator, integrity. If you are honest and up front with the wardens and have made a mistake and understand you have made a mistake the wardens prefer to take the high road. But as always their will be the select few who are rambo fish cops and will unload hell for the smallest infraction. But in the future with the big game becoming more and more of a commodity i think the wardens will become much less forgiving. (just a thought).
 

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I've always had good encounters with Conservation Officers or Wildlife Biologists. I don't think I've ever had a run-in with a "fish cop". Do they smell like fish?? Is it a fish with a badge? Perhaps a lack of respect, ie calling somebody with a degree in something like wildlife biology or some other challenging field a "fish cop" is partly to blame for their attitude in the field. They're out trying to make sure people follow the regs and they get treated like crap for it. I'd be a little short with folks too after a while, I'm sure. All of the officers I've talked to have been professional, courteous, informative and actually not bad at all to deal with, even when I was being written a citation. It didn't make it bad at all that he wrote me up for fishing with two poles.... in fact, when I explained to the judge that my wife was using one of the two on free fishing day, I got out without any fines. I ran into the officer another time out at Utah Lake and he was still as nice as could be. He actually sent me home to get my license instead of writing me up. Great folks... hired for not much in the way of pay grade to deal with the public, who, in my estimation, seems to be rather surly towards any government agency from the get go, let alone when somebody is questioning them about their activities. These guys have a tremendous amount of responsibility and the least we can all do, since good encounters appear to be what most are after, is just accomodate them and make life a little easier for the guys just trying to do their job. :|
 
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