The Arkansas Department of Game and Fish is on the search for any felons using firearms while hunting.
Safety is always an issue for fish and game officials. The Arkansas Department of Game and Fish are trying to make things safer for the public and themselves by cracking down on felons using firearms while out hunting.
“I think the big concern for us is that we want our wildlife officers to be safe. Several years ago , we did have a wildlife officer that got shot. He was getting ready to check somebody, so there is some concern,” said wildlife official Keith Stephens. “I think there have been some issues in Louisiana and Florida where officers have been shot as well. It’s not only out officers, but also the public. If someone is out there with a weapon, it is a concern for us if they are not being safe or if they have a felony conviction.”
Wildlife officials have the same ability to stop, check, and even arrest people like regular police officers. Their issue is coming up with a better plan to safely seek out felons who are breaking the law by owning and operating a firearm.
“It was brought out we didn’t have a written plan for that. For now, we are going to make sure we have a plan for that day,” said Stephens. “It’s the same thing as a DWI check on the highway or something like that. How are we going to check? Are we going to check every third hunter? Every other hunter?”
While they are trying to make hunting safer for all involved, this new decision to perform checks has split the hunting community in Arkansas down the middle.
Some hunters believe a crackdown like this is completely unnecessary and a waste of their time while out in the field. Others believe that if you have nothing to hide and aren’t doing anything illegal, it shouldn’t be an issue.
No word has been released as to when they plan to begin these checkpoints.