Claremore Daily Progress

November 12, 2013

Poachers strike Oologah

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Game Warden Lt. Brek Henry is searching for answers after five whitetail bucks were found decapitated this weekend near Oologah Lake.

The animal carcasses were left in two areas. One animal was dumped near a boat ramp and the other four were found together along a dirt road in the woods. The crime was believed to have been committed Saturday evening on public hunting lands.

Henry is looking for those responsible for poaching these animals.

“The man who called to report these deer had his young daughter with him. He is trying to teach her about hunting and one of the first things they see is this. How sad is that,” Henry said. “People who do these things aren’t hunters, they are poachers and they are stealing from you and I and every other responsible hunter out there.”

Henry and other game wardens across the state  work to protect the state’s natural resources by enforcing hunting laws.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Operation Game Thief program gives citizens the opportunity to assist in reporting and catching offenders. Anyone who witnesses poaching or other crimes can anonymously report the violation by calling the tip line at 1-800-522-8039 or the local game warden.

“I hope someone has information about this and is willing to call,” Henry said. “Just remember they are stealing from you too.”

Henry can be reached at  918-857-8563 and Game Warden Steve Loveland at 918- 857-4802.

When reporting a hunting violation those calling should note as many facts as possible, according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife website.

Deer hunting is the most popular hunting season in Oklahoma, according to the ODW website.

There have been 32,532 deer checked during the current season, according It is currently deer archery season. Gun season begins on Nov. 23.

The economic impact of hunting in Oklahoma exceeds $600 million annually, according to the website.

The statewide management goal continues to place emphasis on reducing the number of bucks and increasing the number of does harvested during the season, according to the website.

Reporting a violation can reduce these crimes and assist officials in wildlife management, according to Henry.

During the remaining weeks of deer season, individuals can assist Henry and other officials in catching these suspects or others believed to hunt illegally.

Operation Game Thief offers reward payments for those assisting in the process.