Many times hunters and fisherman meet a game warden only when they have gone outside the law and have to pay a fine or worse.
But enforcing wildlife rules and regulations is only a part of what Officer Daniel Perkins’ job entails.
Perkins shared a story about a hunter who got lost while deer hunting in a nearby county.
“Lt. Headrick, a nearby warden in Washita County, called me to assist in a reported suspicious vehicle,” Perkins said. “When I arrived at the scene Warden Headrick and I determined that whoever owned the pickup must be lost. We began searching the area beyond where the vehicle had been located. By the time we located the hunter it was well past dusk and the temperature had dropped significantly.”
“It seems the young man had poached a deer and had field dressed the deer in order to cover up his crime,” Perkins said. “Well this took some time and effort. The young man had become overheated in the process and shed some of his warmer clothing. When he started back back to his vehicle with the deer he became lost and by the time we found him he was close to being in a state of hypothermia. Lt. Headrick wrapped him in his coat and we helped him back to our vehicles, where I gave the hunter some of my hot coffee and turned on the heater to high. The young man was glad to see us even though we still had to issue him a ticket for poaching.”
Not only are game wardens in the field to regulate hunting, their responsibility covers the interests of land owners as well, such as helping with wildlife that is over populated and/or a nuisance.
There are a few things game wardens can do to help land owners that have nuisance wildlife.
“Here in Jackson County and surrounding counties we still have to deal with problems presented by wild hogs,” Perkins said. “The problem with hogs is that they can tear up a lot of stuff, including front yards of rural citizens and cause extensive damage to crops. I have talked with a few peanut farmers who say damage to their crops by hogs are a contributing factor to their discontinuance of that crop.”
“Wild hogs move up and down rivers and streams — they like well-covered areas and tend to be more of a problem in fields with wheat, peanuts, and milo,” Perkins said. “Hogs multiply rapidly and can from just four or five turn in to hundreds in a few months.”
Perkins recommends trapping wild hogs as a means of control to remove large numbers from an area.
“The wild hogs are not considered a wildlife by the department and can be shot without a hunting license, except during deer season where you must have an open or filled deer tag,” Perkins said. “They can also be hunted at night with an exemption to night shoot and land owner’s permission. Game wardens are happy to put land owners in contact with trappers and can help with questions that arise about apps that are required for night hunting.”
Perkins also offered his expertise in game laws and outdoorsmanship to those attempting to enjoy hunting or fishing.
“Game wardens across the state, including myself, would like land owners and sportsmen to know that we are there for them to meet their needs whatever that might be,” Perkins said. “I am happy to answer any questions that the public might have about how to best deal with wildlife, especially about hunting or controlling animals that are becoming a nuisance.”
For more information, call the local sheriff’s department or Perkins directly at 580-450- 7702.
Reach Scott Krapff at 580-482-1221.