Clay County TWRA Sergeant Bill Moulton had a busy night stopping illegal spotlighting in a portion of the county. The following day was Free Hunting Day and squirrel and deer hunters were out again, along with the Sergeant. Despite a busy time, when a call came in to the TWRA Poaching Hotline, Sergeant Moulton responded.
A husband and wife had been camping and fishing below Dale Hollow Dam when they noticed a group of six men snagging trout early in the day.
After illegally collecting several trout, the men left and the couple assumed they’d never see them again. But the group came back after lunch and resumed illegal activity. The couple called the TWRA Poaching Hotline.
TWRA Dispatcher Joseph Cook received the call and contacted Sergeant Moulton, who was able to reach the scene quickly and quietly and observe five adults and one juvenile snagging trout. Sergeant Moulton made contact with the six individuals. Two younger men fled. After apprehending them, Sergeant Moulton ascertained the group had illegally snagged 21 to 26 trout earlier in the day. They were found in possession of 43 more trout when Sergeant Moulton observed them.
The group of five adults and one minor were from Murfreesboro. Three out of the six held proper licensing. Three adults were changed with illegal take, possession of illegal game and for being over the catch limit. The limit is seven trout per day, per licensed angler. Two adults were charged with aiding and abetting and illegal methods. The juvenile was given a warning. Total of finds and costs was $4,020.00. The six were transported to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s office and Celina Assistant Police Chief assisted.
Sergeant Moulton stated, “I’m grateful for the couple that called the poaching hotline. Without their observation and willingness to call, this illegal activity could have continued. We encourage anyone the witnesses illegal activity to contact us.”
To find regional contact information and hotlines, visit tnwildlife.org.