By Ryan Sabalow
When it comes to poaching cases and wildlife crimes, Indianapolis’ near southside and the city’s airport aren’t exactly the first places that come to mind.
But on Sunday, Indiana conservation officers and city police found themselves chasing a suspect across icy streets near the heart of the city as part of a poaching investigation that originated on airport land.
It wasn’t as if poachers were prowling the runways.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority has about 1,200 acres of forested land locked up in conservation areas that also serve as noise buffer zones.
“We call it kind of a no man’s land,” said Jet Quillen, an Indiana conservation officer. “It’s really good deer habitat, so people sneak out there and try to hunt.”
But hunting on airport land is strictly off limits. Quillen said the case began on Nov. 16, opening day of Indiana’s firearms deer-hunting season.
Hoping to catch a poacher in the act, Quillen said, he and another conservation officer hunkered down in the dark off a dead end road on airport property near Interstate 70 and Ronald Regan Parkway, several miles from the airport.
They were soon startled when a gun roared just a few hundred yards from them.
“It kind of spooked us a little bit because it was dark and quiet and all the sudden you hear a shotgun blast,” Quillen said.
The noise helped lead the officers to the alleged shooter, 21-year-old Timothy Hall Jr., Indianapolis, and Richard Burchfield, Hall’s uncle.
Quillen said Hall told conservation officers he’d shot a deer with buckshot, which is illegal in Indiana. More....