By Candice Davis
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently wrapped up a major special investigation involving 46 individuals that began in 2008. Operation “Pulling Wool” came to a close on April 25 with a final conviction in Federal Court. The last defendant charged in the operation was found guilty by a United States Magistrate in Cape Girardeau.
All 46 defendants were found guilty by trial or plea in Federal Court for hunting deer with the aid of dogs on U.S. Forest Service property. The defendants paid a total of $67,425 in fines to the federal court for their actions. Another six defendants were charged with nine total violations in state court in Ripley County. These defendants paid a total of $1,909 in fines and court costs. The combined fines and costs paid by the defendants was $69,334. Additionally, hunting privileges of all the defendants were revoked for periods of one to three years.
“These convictions are a direct result of our mission to protect the fish, forests and wildlife of Missouri,” said Gary Cravens, MDC Protection Regional Supervisor for Ozark Region. “Missouri citizens have asked us to take on this mission, and putting a stop to illegal poaching activities, like deer dogging, helps to ensure Missouri remains a great place to hunt ethically.” More....