Agencies banded together for one of the largest game and fish checkpoints in South Dakota, ending with 147 violations.
Starting Sunday afternoon numerous agencies including South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks conducted a 24 hour game and fish checkpoint at a White Lake rest stop off I-90.
Over the 24-hour period, law enforcement stopped 3,342 vehicles and checked 1,253 hunters and anglers making their way home. They ended with a total of 147 violations ranging from unlawful transportation of big and small game to no licenses, over limits, and more.
One man traveling from Wyoming was in possession of nine deer, only three of which were tagged. The hunter was cited and had all nine deer seized.
The craziest moment of the day was when two men began tossing their over bag limit of pheasants from their vehicle as they drove down the interstate upon realizing they were going to be stopped.
"By the time they got to the rest stop, we were able to bring them their lost pheasants," said Andy Alban the Game, Fish, and Parks administrator. "We had someone watching at the overpass and saw them throwing pheasants out the window."
A total of 50 personnel helped with the checkpoint. Officers ranged from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, conservation officers from Montana and Wyoming Fish and Game, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Aurora County Sheriff's Office.
South Dakota generally does about 10 to 20 smaller scale checkpoints along highways, but the last one this large was back in 2003 at a Vivian rest area.
They chose to do the checkpoint Sunday after South Dakota's deer opener Saturday and it being the peak of pheasant season. Neighboring states had other big game openers as well making that point the perfect time to find violations.
They realize not all of the people were purposely trying to violate or get around laws, but said it's rewarding to apprehend those that are and preserve opportunities for the folks who are doing it the right way.