Patrolmen pinch poachers ahead of deer season
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks (SDGFP) set up illegal game checkpoints on interstate roads in November, keeping their eyes peeled for hunters who may have gotten carried away.
Jim McCormick is a regional conservation supervisor for SDGFP. He said the process for checking game is similar to D.U.I. saturation patrols conducted by police organizations.
"We funnel vehicles down just like you would see in a construction zone. We utilize Department of Transportation safety cones and signage that say 'flagger' ahead," McCormick said. "Then, they're asked ... if they have any game and fish on board."
Conservation officers checked cars carrying fresh kills - looking for anything that seemed unsportsmanlike.
"Lack of plumage or identification on the small game or waterfowl ... no identification of the species or sex ... big game transportation; whether they have a tag on the deer."
Wildlife officers will also be scoping out hunting grounds with the start of West River deer season on Saturday.
McCormick and co. want to make sure that those bagging kills are playing by the rules.
"We got to kind of keep the bag limits in check so it's fair for everybody and equal for everybody and that somebody doesn't take more than their fair share according to the rules and regulations so that we have that wildlife and fish there for many generations to come."
To McCormick, hunting beyond your limit is no game: "A class 2 misdemeanor citation is issued ... [and] could be anywhere from $170 to $250."
McCormick added that game checkpoints are a multi-agency effort. He said that South Dakota Highway Patrol will run simultaneous D.U.I. saturation patrols. The Department of Transportation also approves the layout of each checkpoint.
Want to stay on the good side of the law? Game Fish and Parks social media can help you keep up with the current regulations.
"We do a lot of media education - that's some of Facebook social medias that we use for educating sports men and women."
But for most who simply might not have known any better - McCormick says: let this serve as a lesson.
"That is an education piece to them that you need to follow and obey the game and fish rules of South Dakota. We have them for a reason," McCormick finished.