Four out of five defendants charged with crimes related to killing a female black bear out of season in Fannin County pled guilty and will be paying fines totaling $2,700.
In March 2010, rangers with Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, obtained arrest warrants on five suspects involved in the illegal killing of a female black bear with newborn cubs. The investigation began when the dead bear was found in Murray County on March 3. Two cubs were dropped off at McCayesville veterinarian later that week.
Following up on several leads and interviews, rangers obtained a search warrant for an Epworth residence and interviewed three hog hunters, Anthony White, Casey Crawford and Robert Perkins, Jr. Crawford admitted to killing the bear on private property off Stanley Creek Road in Fannin County while hog hunting with Perkins.
Rangers executed a search warrant on March 16, 2010, at the residence of Jamie Smith and Brian Walters, who were involved in the removal of parts of the bear and taking them and the cubs to the residence.
Between April and August of 2011, all five defendants entered into negotiated pleas in the Superior Court of Fannin County.
- Casey Crawford pled guilty to Taking a Black Bear Out of Season, and Hunting on Lands of Another Without Permission. He was sentenced to pay fines totaling $1,300 and received 12 months probation on each count.
- Jamie Smith pled guilty to Possession of Freshly Killed Bear Parts Out of Season, Possession of Illegally Taken Wildlife, Concealment of Illegally Taken Wildlife, Tampering with Evidence, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of Marijuana Less than One Ounce, and Criminal Trespass. He was sentenced to pay fines totaling $725 and received five years probation for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, and 12 months probation for each additional count.
- Brian Walters pled guilty to Possession of Freshly Killed Bear Parts Out of Season, Tampering with Evidence, and Criminal Trespass. He was sentenced to pay fines totaling $675 and received 12 months probation on each count.
- The charges against Robert Perkins were Dead Docketed provided he does not violate any laws for 12 months.
- The charge against Anthony White was dismissed.
HOW TO REPORT POACHING
Hunters should call or e-mail the TIP hotline upon witnessing a poaching violation. All information acquired through the TIP hotline is forwarded to a Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division conservation ranger for further investigation. If information leads to an arrest, TIP pays a reward to the caller. Callers also may choose to remain anonymous.
Callers should try to obtain the following information: the type of violation, a description of the violator, description of the violator’s vehicle, and the date, time and location of the violation.
Common poaching violations include, hunting during illegal hours, hunting from a public road, taking over the bag limit, hunting or fishing in unauthorized areas, killing deer illegally, hunting over bait, buying or selling wildlife, killing or being in possession of nongame or endangered species and stocking wildlife.
The public can reach the TIP hotline by dialing 1-800-241-4113, by dialing *DNR on a cell phone, or by sending an email to TurnInPoachers@dnr.ga.gov .
For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com (select the TIP logo on the bottom of the home page), contact a local Wildlife Resources Division Law Enforcement office or call (770) 918-6414.