North Platte Men Fined for Numerous Violations

North Platte Men Fined for Numerous Violations

LINCOLN, Neb. — A North Platte man recently lost his hunting privileges for a year and was ordered to pay fines, liquidated damages and court costs of more than $5,000 for his part in extensive poaching activities over the past two years.

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Conservation Officer Dudley Sorensen of North Platte, said James Davisson, 34, a Lincoln County resident, was charged along with Fred Smith, 44, and Troy Garrels, 34, both of North Platte, for numerous game law violations. The violations included, hunting without permits, hunting in closed season, hunting without permission, hunting with illegal weapons, being over bag limit, being over possession limit, borrowing and loaning a permit, allowing underage persons to take big game, failure to cancel permits, failure to check big game, taking wildlife from roadway, and needless waste.

Davisson was assessed $5,484 in fines, costs and liquidated damages and relinquished his hunting privileges for a year. Garrels was assessed $419 in fines, costs and liquidated damages. Smith’s trial is pending.

Sorensen, who led the investigation, said that the violations involved the taking of deer, antelope, turkey, doves and waterfowl. He said that Davisson had a prior conviction for a federal Lacey Act violation in 2007 regarding a white-tailed deer, which Sorenson helped investigate along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Mike Damico of North Platte. A Lacey Act violation involves transporting an illegally-taken game animal across state lines. In that case Davisson pleaded guilty and paid a $1,525 fine.

Sorensen said that an investigation was launched when the Commission received information in April of 2008 that Davisson was involved in illegal activities in Lincoln and surrounding counties. Violations were also discovered to have occurred in McPherson and Logan counties. Sorensen said the course of the investigation implicated Garrels and Smith.

Sorensen said Davisson, Garrels and Smith had previously lived in Iowa, and enforcement officers Ed Kocal and Tom Campbell from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources provided key evidence involving the cases. Sorensen said search warrants that were served by conservation officers and the Nebraska State Patrol resulted in the Nebraska evidence obtained in this investigation.

Evidence seized in those warrants included white-tailed deer antlers, mule deer antlers, venison, turkey meat, turkey tail fans, turkey legs and beards. Investigators also seized videotapes, cell phones, cameras, photos and a computer.

On March 6, conservation officers and officers of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service arrested Davisson for failure to comply with a court order and writing an insufficient funds check to the court. Davisson also had failed to appear in Logan County court.

Sorensen said it was disturbing to him that Davisson was often accompanied by juveniles as young as 9 years of age when he committed some of the violations. Sorensen said role modeling is extremely important in developing hunter ethics and responsible firearm handling. He said these kinds of violations do impact wildlife resources, and this case is a perfect example of how much damage can be inflicted on wildlife in a relatively short period of time.

The mission of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is stewardship of the state’s fish, wildlife, park, and outdoor recreation resources in the best long-term interests of the people and those resources.