Game Wardens Become Drug Hunters

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The original job of a game warden was to track wildlife populations and check boat registrations, with priority given to catching those who were abusing wildlife or otherwise poaching. Today, taking care of these duties is only a fraction of the job. In some areas, such as in Louisiana where game wardens are known as Agents for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, game wardens are spending less time with traditional duties, and more time serving in a more conventional law enforcement capacity.

Byron Cammack, a warden for 10 years, and other agents, often work nights to try and catch illegal hunters or fisherman in the forests or on the waterways. Nowadays they are just as likely to come across drug users rather than hunters. Now the Region 3 Pineville Office, including Rapides, Sabine, Natchitoches, Winn, and LaSalle parishes, has set up a special maritime unit to fight the drug traffickers, and has also sent one agent to become a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), which means being trained to tell if a person is on drugs (and the type of drug) by checking a their pupils, blood pressure, heart rate and, if necessary, their blood.

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Wildlife and Fisheries agents often patrol alone without the backup that other law enforcement agencies have when policing city streets, so the more training they have, the better. They can come across night hunters, who sometimes take meth to stay awake for days at a time as they poach game illegally, often to sell for more drug money.

Wildlife and Fisheries agents may find it easier to identity potential drug users than some other kinds of law enforcement officers as they can ask anyone to show their hunting permit, or fishing license, which often reveals the physical presence of drugs. For example, fishermen may try and conceal pills or marijuana in their tackle box.

Their law enforcement initiatives are working, as proven by the arrest of 48 dealers in 14 locations across Louisiana so far this year.

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