The state conservation department might have pulled off its biggest roundup of illegal hunters in department history. For the last couple of years, a department insider has been working with hunters in seven southern Missouri counties Investigators say 62 percent of the wildlife taken to a taxidermist for mounting had been taken illegally. Sixty-eight people have racked up 425 violations. The department figures this kind of thing has been going on for years.
The department’s regional supervisor, Gary Cravens, says the hunters incriminated themselves, many of them bragging and boasting to their taxidermist about how they had taken the game illegally. What they didn’t know, says Cravens, “The taxidermist…was actually one of us. He just opened up shop and they brought them to him,” he says.
The conservation department has confiscated 90 deer mounts or antler sets, about 20 small game, fish or furbearer mounts….a rattlesnake….One guy even had 70 frog legs, far more than allowed.
Three people were arrested because they had eleven outstanding warrants.
Craven says the information is being given to seven county prosecutors for consideration of charges.