Wildlife officials in Mississippi are watching for increased poaching activity in flood areas.
Areas affected by Mississippi River flooding are closed for hunting, but it isn’t stopping poachers from trying to take advantage of fleeing deer in Mississippi.
At least two men have been arrested for poaching deer fleeing rising floodwaters. In Tunica County, wildlife officials spotted 49-year-old Donald Hensley shining deer near a levee. After a short chase, he was apprehended in Tunica where they found the remains of five deer in his vehicle.
“They found three dead does, one buck and one buck head,” Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Law Enforcement Bureau Chief Steve Adcock told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
“He finally admitted he’d shot four of the deer, but said someone gave him the buck head.”
Hensley is looking at hefty fines of $10,000 or more in the incident. He was hit with charges ranging from illegal possession of deer to hunting from a public road.
But he wasn’t the only one caught poaching deer in a flood area. Officials arrested 70-year-old E.B. Metcalfe on his Bolivar County property after they discovered three dead bucks on his property. He also admitted to killing two more.
If two people have been caught taking advantage of the floods, it’s likely there are others. Wildlife officials are well aware of how the flooding makes some of the deer easy targets and they are watching these places accordingly.
“We are patrolling these areas heavily,” Adcock said. “Just because you don’t see us doesn’t mean we’re not there.”
Officials are also thanking citizens.
“People will call in on you for breaking game laws,” Adcock said. In catching Metcalfe, it was a citizen complaint of rifle shots that led officials to investigate and discover the deer on his property.