Undercover Wildlife Operation Cracks Down On Poaching In North Carolina And Georgia

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

State and federal wildlife officials in North Carolina and Georgia announced an undercover operation Wednesday that involved about 80 wildlife violators and some 980 violations.

Primary violations documented by Operation Something Bruin stem from illegal bear hunting but include an array of state wildlife and game law charges. Some suspects could also face federal charges.

The four-year investigation, the largest of its kind in recent years, targeted poachers in North Carolina and Georgia, with work in some adjacent states. Included in Georgia are eight defendants facing a total of 136 state charges.

Dan Forster, director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, said Operation Something Bruin is a great example of a multi-agency effort with a unified goal: protecting a public trust resource that provides “tremendous natural, social and economic benefits to citizens.”

“It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we have sustainable natural resources for the public to enjoy for generations,” Mr. Forster said. “And particularly in these economic times, it’s critical for us to work across geopolitical boundaries with other agencies to provide the best possible protection for the resource.”

Officers with Georgia DNR and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission infiltrated poaching circles to document violations including bear baiting; illegal take of bears, deer and other wildlife; illegal use of dogs; illegal operation of bear pens in North Carolina; and, guiding hunts on national forest lands without the required permits.

Operation Something Bruin partners also included the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

Officers began making arrests on Tuesday. Totals given for violators and violations are approximate.

This investigation will help safeguard wildlife by making poachers pay now, and making would-be violators think twice before breaking laws that conserve natural resources.

For those who persist in wildlife theft, Something Bruin will help agencies better train officers to catch them - an effort strongly supported by hunters and anglers, our nation’s first conservationists.

Col. Eddie Henderson, chief of the Wildlife Resources Division’s Law Enforcement Section, emphasized that the effort also reinforces the public’s role in helping combat poaching and conserve wildlife.

“Conservation officers cannot be everywhere,” Mr. Henderson said. “The public can be a great asset by reporting poaching and suspicious activity through their state’s toll-free report-a-violation line. Wildlife belongs to everyone. Reporting poaching helps us protect something the public owns.”

Learn more at www.operationsomethingbruin.org or www.georgiawildlife.com/operationsomethingbruin.

Appalachian Trail Produces Deer Poacher And Lost Dog

TWRA wildlife officers working along the Appalachian Trail in the Cherokee National Forest near Butler charged a hunter with violations related to illegal deer hunting, then rescued a lost family pet in the same area.  Carter County Wildlife Officer Dennis Ward has documented illegal ATV tracks on Iron Mountain for several years, and while scouting out the area this year, ... (click for more)

Low Water Levels Increase Boating Hazard

With the statewide duck season set to open, winter angling opportunities and those recreational boaters withstanding colder temperatures to continue enjoying their sport, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) reminds boaters of  increased hazards in areas with low water levels. Above average temperatures and below average rainfall throughout the year has affected water ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Looking Into Taking Over Schools

A new group of Signal Mountain Town Council members is looking into taking over county schools within the town boundaries.   Two newly elected board members, Amy Speek and Dan Landrum, joined the council Friday afternoon at the first work session after the election. The election of mayor and vice mayor for the next two years came first on the agenda. Dick Gee, mayor ... (click for more)

Curtis Coleman Sentenced To 144 Months For Dealing Heroin

Curtis Allen Coleman, 41, of Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced to serve 144 months in prison by Federal Judge Travis R. McDonough for heroin distribution in Chattanooga. Coleman pleaded guilty in August to a federal indictment charging him with, among other things, conspiracy to distribute heroin.  According to information on file with the United States District ... (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Our Schools Stink

Cheryl Roddy has spent her lifetime, for the biggest part, as a teacher for the Hamilton County Department of Education and, more specifically, at East Ridge High School. She has loved teaching there for nearly 40 years and is hardly “average;” she has her master's degree in education, was twice East Ridge’s teacher of the year, was the first teacher at East Ridge to reach the first ... (click for more)