Oklahoma hunters eagerly anticipate the first day of dove season, since the birds are plentiful and relatively easy to hunt. However, some people just can’t wait, and start hunting even before the official start of the season on September 1.
As two local men were hunting doves two days before the start of the season this year, a concerned citizen drove past and called game wardens to the scene. These law enforcement officers found the men hunting illegally as expected, but also found something else they weren’t expecting – one of the hunters was baiting the doves with wheat, which is illegal when hunting doves in Oklahoma.
Perhaps the strangest finding was their dove blind. While hunters can use anything from tall grass to shrubs to hide behind, in this case the men were using marijuana plants. The pot plants were tied to some posts.
When a game warden escorted one of the men home to get his driver’s license, the official found drug paraphernalia. In addition he found more signs of illegal hunting—in this case a hawk fan and talons. Not only is it illegal to kill a bird of prey in Oklahoma, it is illegal to even possess parts of these birds.
Both of the men were ticketed for their hunting violations and could face additional charges as well. One of the two men was brought in for several outstanding warrants.
Bill Hale, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation’s assistant chief of law enforcement, was quoted by KFOR as saying that the case “sounds more like something you’d see in a story or movie” rather than in real life.
This should serve as a strong warning to poachers who may be committing additional crimes – a poaching citation could easily turn into a trip to jail and much more serious charges.