April 14 – 20, 2021
To increase awareness of Conservation Police Officers’ (CPOs, or previously called game wardens) activities, the “Virginia Conservation Police Notebook” provides an overview of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia. These reports are prepared from the officer’s field notes by Kim McCarthy, Executive Assistant of the Law Enforcement Division of DWR. These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other outdoor enthusiasts an undeserved bad reputation.
Region I – Tidewater
Hunter Caught Getting an Early Jump on Spring Turkeys – On April 2, 2021, Officer Joe Rollings received a report from a local hunt club president in Prince George County that had received information that a subject had trespassed on his hunt club property and killed a turkey prior to the season beginning. Officer Rollings responded to the area with Officer Braziel and her K9 Grace. After searching a particular field that was indicated in the report, the officers and Grace were able to locate an area of turkey feathers in what appeared to be a kill spot in another nearby wheat field. Further search of the area revealed a spent shot cup and shot shell. The two officers collected the evidence and scheduled a meeting with the possible suspect at his nearby residence. On April 3, the two interviewed the suspect who initially denied being in the area or turkey hunting. Further questioning revealed holes in the suspects story and eventually he admitted to trespassing onto the property on April 1, 2021, shooting a turkey during the closed season, and taking it back to his residence. Great teamwork between the two officers and K9 helped to close the case and appropriate charges were placed.
Region III – Southwest
CPOs Assist in Search for Missing Fisherman – On the night of Tuesday, April 13th, 2021, Conservation Police Officer Corey Gardner responded to a request for assistance from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office related to a missing fisherman on the South Fork of the Holston river in the vicinity of South Holston Lake. The missing man’s vehicle and fishing equipment were located near Alvarado Station along the South Fork of the Holston River earlier the same evening and last contact with him had been the previous day. First responders from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Damascus Volunteer Fire Department, Damascus Volunteer Rescue Squad, U.S. Forest Service, Washington County Lifesaving Crew, and DWR began searching the riverbank and nearby trails for signs of the missing man having entered the water. His body was discovered in the water, approximately ten feet from the shoreline at approximately 1:00 am, on Thursday, April 14th. Washington County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of the investigation. At this time, no foul play is suspected in the incident.