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NEAR SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. --
Modern gun season is in full swing. That means thousands of hunters are out pursuing deer and dozens of wildlife officials are out pursuing hunters who don't play by the rules.
One of those wildlife officials took 40/29 News reporter Steve Tellier along with him on Monday to show how the officers battle poaching in the area.
"Our job is to protect the natural resources of the state, which is wildlife," said Brian McKinzie, a wildlife officer with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
McKinzie spent Monday prowling for poachers in the wooded area around Siloam Springs. He said he's similar to other law enforcement officers, except that the calls he responds to don't have names and addresses tied to them.
"I don't have a box up here that's telling me, 'Hey, that guy's poaching, that guy's poaching.' We go find it," McKinzie said.
On this day, he was looking for suspects that violated more than one hunting regulation.
"No. 1, they had no permission to be where they were. No. 2, they shot it from the road and again, nobody's allowed to do that," McKinzie said.
But before he found the culprits, he found a carcass.
"Get a whole lot of calls for stuff like this," McKinzie said.
The carcass was that of a deer that had been dead for a long period of time. The skinned carcass was left illegally on a dirt road.
"Senseless. It gives a bad name to hunters," McKinzie said.
McKinzie got back into his car and continued patrolling for his suspects as darkness fell. Deer began appearing in the woods near the road and suddenly, a rifle shot could be heard. McKinzie said the area was largely reserved just for bow hunting. He found an abandoned car nearby and checked the hood to see how recently it had been driven.
"Even if he's been here three, four hours, that hood shouldn't be that cold," McKinzie said.
Eventually, McKinzie tracked down the hunters and asked for their hunting licenses. He was pleased to find this kill was a legal one. As the deer was tagged and the paperwork filled out, one of the hunters expressed his frustration at the poachers who don't follow the rules.
"I wish they would all get caught. I don't feel a bit sorry for them," said Howard Ferguson.
McKinzie said the most common violations he comes across are either shooting from the road or trespassing. But he added that the vast majority of hunters follow each and every rule very closely.

Story From: 4029tv.com
 
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