Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Virginia Police Notebook

Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia.

Reports from the field officer's notebook...

Region I - Tidewater  

Felon Apprehended - On December 23, Conservation Police Officer Kopelove was contacted by a hunter who has exclusive permission to hunt an expansive property in Henrico County. The caller stated that he observed two males with shotguns step over the gated and posted fence that gives access to the property. After asking the individuals what they were doing, they stated that they were going duck hunting. The caller told them that it was posted property and they left. The caller was able to get the license plate of the vehicle and provide it to Officer Kopelove. Kopelove made contact with the subjects that afternoon and obtained confessions from both individuals to duck hunting the day before and attempting to deer and duck hunt that morning. One individual is a two time convicted felon and under an active protection order and was lacking required duck stamps. The other individual was a juvenile who provided the firearm to the felon. Both firearms involved were retrieved and seized as evidence. Applicable charges will be made after consultation with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
Stay Tuned for Continuing Investigation - On December 26, Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker received a complaint of trespassing in the Mannville section of Scott County. The complainant advised others saw hunters on his property earlier in the week and he had not given anyone permission to hunt. The complainant lives in Tennessee and had not been to his property in about 2 months. Officer Honaker met the subject at his property that afternoon. The subject told the officer that he has a small hunting lodge on the far side of the property. Officer Honaker and the landowner walked the property and found that the lock on his hunting cabin had been broken and remains of some items were found outside. Officer Honaker contacted the Scott County Sheriff's Office. A deputy arrived on scene a short time later. As Officer Honaker waited for the deputy to arrive he noticed a game camera nearby. The landowner said that it was his hunting partner's camera. Officer Honaker retrieved pictures from the camera that showed subjects entered the cabin on December 25 at approximately 19:25. When the deputy arrived they entered the cabin and found that it had been vandalized. Several items were missing according to the landowner. A list of missing items was made and photographs were taken by the deputy. A portable heater had been set against a wall and turned on in an apparent attempt to set the cabin on fire. The propane was soon used up and the only damage was the wall had been scorched. Officer Honaker began tracking at least one person that led him through one property to a church parking lot about one-quarter of a mile away from the cabin. The officer gave the deputy the evidence that he collected for an investigator with the Sheriff's Office to pursue. The Scott County Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation.

Region II – Southside

Planned Decoy Operation Nets Repeat Offender - During a planned decoy deer operation in December, Sergeant Karl Martin and Conservation Police Officer Travis Ferguson prepared to set a decoy deer in a rural area of Franklin County where they had received numerous complaints of road hunting. As the officers left the roadway to place the decoy, they observed a pick-up truck where a man and a younger male (who turned out to be a juvenile), were attempting to load a deer into the bed of the truck. The 18 year old man had just killed a doe in the exact spot that the officers had planned to set the decoy. However, that's not the end of the story. The man asked if he was in trouble again? This same individual had been in Franklin County General District Court the week before for multiple game law violations for illegally killing two deer in October. For this offense, he was charged with trespassing and other related wildlife offenses; his second series of offenses for the season.
Fatality Not a hunting accident - On December 31, Conservation Police Sergeant Karl Martin and Conservation Police Officer Dale Owens were traveling to a meeting with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Officers when they were notified that there had been a hunting incident in Patrick County. The initial call was that a rabbit hunter had been injured when shot by a companion hunter. As the officers were responding to the call, it quickly escalated when they were notified that the victim had died. Upon arrival, it was determined that the shot fired by the other hunter was intentional and that the 19 year old shooter had intentionally killed the 63 year old companion hunter. Both officers assisted the Patrick County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police with the investigation. Charges of first degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony were placed by the Patrick County Sheriff's Office.
Spotlighting Patrol - District 21 personnel participated in spotlighting saturation patrols on January 2-3. Conservation Police Officer Eric Dotterer observed an SUV slow and cast lights into an area frequented by deer and sped off. The operator fled the scene and was pursued through Pittsylvania County into Henry County. Three Henry County men were arrested and charged with killing deer with the aid of lights, eluding police and other game law violations. Three firearms, a vehicle and suspected drugs were seized. After the initial arrest, officers found six freshly killed deer in the general area. The investigation is continuing with the possibility of additional arrests being made.

Region III - Southwest

Illegal Deer Kill - On December 17, Senior Conservation Police Officer Gene Wirt investigated a complaint of a female suspect killing a deer with a .25-06 rifle during muzzle loading deer season in Floyd County. During the investigation, Officer Wirt asked her to describe how to load, cock and fire a muzzle loading rifle. When she was unable to do so, she just kept saying "You know, it's a standard one". She had no idea that the inline that she borrowed required a disk and shotgun primers to fire it. A confession was obtained for her shooting the deer with her .25-06 rifle.
Elk Kill - On December 27, Virginia Conservation Police Sergeant Jamie Davis was notified of an elk kill in Russell County. Upon arriving at the residence of the hunter, Sergeant Davis noticed the cow elk had tags in her ears indicating she had been stocked in the spring of 2014 and should have had a tracking collar around her neck. Sergeant Davis had the hunter take him to the location of the kill and notified Biologist Johnny Wills and Senior Officer James Hale. Officer Hale and Wills went to the location of the kill on December 30, and found the missing collar within 150 yards of the kill site. It appeared to have been subjected to tampering and was damaged. The collar is being sent to the DFS Lab to test for touch DNA per the Commonwealth Attorney. Officer Hale soon discovered that the hunter was trespassing to hunt where the elk was taken. On January 2, Senior Officers James Hale, James Brooks, Dan Hall and Sergeant Jamie Davis executed a search warrant at the hunter's residence to retrieve the elk and its parts. During the search, officers found multiple game law violations including illegal possession of deer, turkey, and bobcats. This investigation is continuing and appropriate charges will be placed against the subject.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Convicted Felon - On January 3, Senior Conservation Police Officer Boulanger was proceeding east on Rt. 522 in Orange County when he observed multiple hunters dressed in camouflage clothing and wearing blaze orange, running across the highway and hop a farm gate. He pulled off the road to make contact with the hunters and observed one of the hunters immediately head back towards his direction. A second hunter, who was carrying a 12 gauge shotgun, appeared to ignore the fact Officer Boulanger had pulled off the road and slowly continued to make his way through a field heading away from the officer. Once Officer Boulanger was able to make contact with the hunter, the hunter made his way back toward Officer Boulanger's patrol vehicle. Once all hunters were back at the gate, Officer Boulanger was able to determine that the hunter that had attempted to walk away from him was a violent sex offender and a convicted felon. The hunter also did not have a hunting license or a bear, deer, turkey license. Subsequently, the hunter was placed under arrest and transported to the Central Virginia Regional Jail where he was held without bond.
Illegal Deer Kill - On January 2, information was received that several hunters were killing deer illegally on private property belonging to a rock quarry in Rockingham County. Senior Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Wayne Billhimer and Senior CPO William Herndon walked the property and located several areas baited with corn. The officers also located numerous freshly killed deer carcasses in black plastic bags. On January 3, Senior CPOs Billhimer and Herndon conducted a foot patrol of the property while Senior CPO Rob Ham remained stationed at the entrance/exit to the property. The first suspect was located and while CPO Herndon interviewed the hunter CPO K- 9 Officer Billhimer and CPO "Justice" back tracked the hunter, locating a dead button buck near an area baited with corn. The suspect admitted to killing the deer and to putting the corn out. During the interview he admitted to the illegal killing of several other deer. A second adult was located hunting in a ground blind with corn all around him. This hunter advised that he did not know the corn was there; but with his floorless blind, it was hard to deny the corn that was under his feet. He also admitted to the illegal killing of deer. The third individual located was a juvenile that was not charged, but was sternly warned about his illegal activity. The investigation continued to a fourth individual that had been hunting this property during the season, but was not hunting this day. During the interview he confessed to killing a 4pt., 8 pt., 5 pt., and 3 antlerless deer. The total deer killed by the group was 11 deer with 7 deer taken illegally. The following charges will be placed; hunting without a license, hunting without a big game license, hunting without a muzzleloader license, failed to wear blaze orange(x2), exceed yearly limit, failed to tag(x4), failed to check(x4), kill deer during the closed season(x5). The investigation is still active.
Kids Shop With Cops - On Wednesday, December 17, 2014, officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) partnered with the Virginia State Police to take Franklin County children Christmas shopping at the Rocky Mount Walmart and then to brunch at Bojangles. The second annual "Shop with a Cop" event was made possible through contributions from Walmart, Bojangles, other local businesses and individuals. Rocky Mount and Franklin County police officers also assisted children with purchasing family gifts, clothes and school supplies. Read the full story courtesy The Franklin News Post.
These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!

If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at

It would be nice if WV would do something like this. I have been reading this from Virginia for several years. They publish it once or twice per month. Yep, Virginia lets you know what is going on out there; instead of leaving one to wonder if Anything is happening.

VIRGINIA OUTDOOR REPORT   http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/outdoor-report/2015/01/14/

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