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Law Enforcement Cracks Down on Illegal Hunting

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission is beefing up patrols to help put an end to poaching.
A week into hunting season in Northwest Arkansas and already illegal activity is on the radar.

Law enforcement is beefing up patrols to help put an end to poaching.

As the weather cools down, the concerning calls go up.

"We have caught some night hunters and some hunting out of season already this year the complaints are starting to pick up in numbers as we get closer and closer to the modern gun season," Sgt. Johnson said.

Poaching is a problem Sgt. Rusty Johnson with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been battling for years.

"It's unethical, it's a safety issue as well. You don't  know what's necessarily in those fields, it could be cattle, there could be a house back behind a tree line somewhere."

Saturday night, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission conducted its first sting of the season, searching for hunters out of line.

"If we can keep people always looking over that shoulder if they think we're behind every corner and every tree, good, maybe we are," Johnson said.

The minimum violation is a 500 dollar fine, with the potential of losing your firearms and even your vehicle.
But the commission catches more than just hunting violations.

"Sometimes when we catch people night hunting or doing other things we also find the drugs or find someone that's got warrants or other criminal activity going on," he said.

But fighting crime is not the focus for enforcement.

"We're not looking to always find someone and arrest somebody but we do have a job to do. We're going to do it the best that we can. It needs to be done. We want to protect our resources as well. That way we can protect it for the hunters that are legally hunting."

All hunting guidelines are available here.

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