After three months, Texas officials have arrested six people in one of the most devastating poaching sprees the state of Texas has ever seen. Among the six suspects, two of which were juveniles, over 175 felony and misdemeanor charges are being brought against them.
The suspects began poaching in early June, primarily killing wildlife, as well as damaging public and private property. At least 68 white-tailed deer were illegally killed, with multiple species of wildlife, including ducks, vultures, alligators, raccoons and more being illegally killed.
The suspects likely did most of their poaching at night as well as from roads and highways, both of which are illegal in Texas. The firearms confiscated included high caliber weapons, such as a .17 HMR, as well as a rifle with a homemade suppressor.
The suspects covered a 25 mile space within Leon County. The highest concentration of illegally killed wildlife was near Centerville, a small community between Jewett and Leona. More than a dozen deer were found near frontage roads in the area, left to rot after being killed.
Various portions of the killed wildlife were taken for food, but more often than not, the wildlife was left to rot wherever they were shot.
The suspects are also being charged with burglarizing multiple hunting cabins, shooting residential mailboxes, killing six cows, and shooting road signs. Ironically, they did not shoot a sign in Centerville warning residents to call the game warden should any poaching be found.
The investigation began in early September when a resident called in to report a poached dear. During the investigation, many residents recalled hearing gunshots in the night. Many assumed they were hearing gunshots from hog hunters, which is legal during the night throughout the entire year.
Currently, the state wardens are working with the Leon County Sherriff’s Office to determine the violations of the suspects and gain an understanding of what happened during the three months of poaching.