Virginia Conservation Police Officer Owen Heine received numerous complaints about a Shenandoah County resident trespassing, exceeding the limit of turkeys and hunting during the closed season. This suspect was familiar to the officer because he had been convicted two other times in the past for turkey violations. After numerous surveillance operations, the suspect’s vehicle was found hidden behind a barn not visible from the road. Turkey season was closed and the suspected violator was nowhere around. Senior K9 Officer Billhimer and his trusty K9 “Justice” tracked the suspect with Officer Heine over 3 miles in the mountains through several private properties. The suspect was caught in the act with a .308 Remington Model 700 with a suppressor and Trijicon scope.
After a search of the poacher’s residence and a full investigation, the poacher was charged with fail to check turkey, hunt/take turkey during closed season, reckless handling of a firearm, trespassing to hunt and illegal possession of turkey. DGIF biologists confirmed 52 pair of turkey wings that were seized from the poacher’s house. The poacher was convicted and sentenced to 180 days in jail (all suspended), fines and costs totaling $873, and the rifle and suppressor were forfeited to be destroyed.