Oklahoma poacher pays stiff penalties

Friday, February 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Payne County man recently convicted of five counts of illegal possession of wildlife received $3,800 in fines and court costs, will lose his lifetime hunting and fishing license for three years, and received a 150-day suspended jail sentence. Harley Gene Brandon of Yale, OK, pled guilty on five counts of illegal possession of white-tailed deer in Payne County Court. Game wardens Jon Cunningham and Captain Randall Reigh investigated the case, which began with a tip from a concerned citizen.

"We're making more of these cases because more citizens are coming forward when they know someone is breaking the law in the manner Mr. Brandon did," said Reigh. "Most hunters are law-abiding citizens who follow the rules and conduct themselves with the utmost reverence and respect for wildlife. Unfortunately, there will probably always be a select few who simply do not feel the laws we have in place to conserve our resources and provide opportunities for the future apply to them."

Reigh said that for anyone thinking of disregarding the fish and game laws, there can be a high penalty to pay. In this case, he said, the punishment fit the crime. "All five of the bucks were killed before last fall's deer seasons even began," he said. "Based on the sentence, I think it is safe to say the judge was also troubled by Brandon's lack of regard for the law."

Anyone with information regarding a potential fish and wildlife violation is encouraged to contact their local game warden or call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-522-8039. Hotline hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and callers do not have to give their name. A listing of game warden phone numbers is in the 2001-2002 Oklahoma Hunting Guide and Regulations, available at sporting goods stores statewide.