November 4, 2016
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officer Hutchinson received information about a baited area within the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA). He and Officer Arnette located the area and discovered it to be baited with corn and a tree stand and a game camera set up. During the opening of archery season, Officer Hutchinson located a vehicle parked on a closed road near the bait. He walked into the baited area and discovered a hunter in the tree stand approximately 15 yards from a large pile of corn. The hunter admitted to placing the bait out and hunting over it. The subject informed Officer Hutchinson that he baited the site several times prior to the hunting season. The subject was charged with placing grain on a WMA and attempting to take deer over bait within a WMA. He was also issued an infraction citation for driving on a closed road and had to remove the hunting equipment from the baited site.
Officer Arnette located a bait site within the Blackwater WMA prior to archery season. Officers Arnette and Hutchinson later returned to the area approximately two hours after daylight and walked into the baited site where they observed a hunter sitting in a tree stand overlooking a large pile of corn. The corn was approximately 20 feet from the base of the tree. The subject stated “I didn’t know the corn was here until I climbed up this morning at daylight.” While walking the subject back to the area where his brother was to pick him up, Officer Hutchinson observed several cut trees along a trail. After further investigation, the subject admitted to placing the bait in the WMA and hunting over bait. He also admitted to damaging/cutting trees on the state forest property. The subject was charged with placing grain/corn on a WMA and attempting to take deer over bait within the WMA. He was also issued a written warning for cutting/damaging trees on a WMA. When the subject’s brother arrived to pick him up, the officers recognized him as being another subject they caught earlier in the morning hunting over bait in a WMA. After interviewing the second subject again, he admitted to helping his brother place bait on the WMA.
Officer Lewis received a complaint from a hunter that had a game camera and SD card stolen from an area he was scouting for the upcoming archery season in the Blackwater WMA. The hunter also found a pile of corn in the area. On opening day of archery season, Officer Lewis observed a white female in a tree stand, hunting with a bow over the pile of corn. When asked if she was hunting with someone else, she said her husband was hunting down the road. Officer Lewis located her husband in a tree stand, hunting with a bow. Officer Lewis found remnants of a corn pile approximately 20 yards out from the direction the husband’s stand was facing. The husband stated that he dropped his wife off at her spot while it was still dark. He stated that he drove to his spot and climbed the tree he was in while it was still dark. Both subjects stated they did not know the corn was there. When questioned about the stolen game cameras, they stated they knew nothing about it. Officer Lewis charged them both with attempting to take wildlife in a WMA on lands upon which grain or other food had been deposited.
Officers P. and J. Rockwell were on land patrol in Blackwater WMA and observed a white Ford F150 parked on the side of the road. The officers got out of their patrol vehicle and observed two men in the woods. One was at the bottom of a tree and the other was lowering his bow from the tree while in his stand. The officers made contact with the subjects and found bait 15 yards from the hunter in the tree stand. During the subsequent interview, the subject admitted to putting out the bait that morning. Officer J. Rockwell charged the man with placing, exposing, or distributing any grain or other food for wildlife in a WMA.
Officer Jones was patrolling the Eglin WMA when he found a recently dumped pile of construction debris near Five Forks Road in Navarre. Officer Jones, with assistance from Investigator Schafer, initiated an investigation to determine who dumped the debris and learned that two construction workers dumped the debris, which was supposed to go to the landfill a few days earlier. Both suspects were issued citations for illegal dumping and were required to clean up the area.
Walton County officers worked a night-hunting detail with Pilot Tolbert and Lieutenant Golloher. Officers Tison and Letcher stopped a vehicle after they observed shots from the vehicle as it passed an 8?point buck along the roadway. When they made contact with the driver, he admitted to shooting the buck with a handgun. A warrants check revealed the subject could not be in possession of a firearm due to an injunction. The officers later recovered the deer and the subject was charged with taking deer at night with a gun and light. Charges for possession of the firearm will be direct filed with documentation of the injunction.