The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report from Oct. 27 - Nov. 2 includes incidents in the Lake Okeechobee area. This report represents some events the FWC handled over specified weeks; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
• Officer Watson was on patrol when he stopped an airboat returning to the boat ramp with an alligator. The alligator was tagged with a CITES tag but the individual who was assigned the alligator trapping license/harvest permit and CITES tag was not on the vessel. The subject told the officer the harvest permit holder had a medical emergency and had to leave. Officer Watson was able to confirm the harvest permit holder did not have a medical emergency.
The subject was hunting with another person’s harvest permit without the permit holder being present (alligator trapping license/harvest permits are nontransferable). One of the subjects also admitted the alligator was shot with a pistol. The subject was charged with hunting with another person’s alligator harvest permit without the harvest permit holder being present. Additional charges are pending and will be filed with the state attorney’s office.
• Officers Pridgen, Watson, and Curbelo responded to a report from a local landowner who had captured photographs with a trail camera of people trespassing on his ranch. A few minutes later, the camera captured the subjects exiting the property while carrying a dead wild hog. The officers investigated and were able to identify the vehicle involved, and one of the subjects. The officers went to the subject’s house and located a butchered wild hog carcass. After interviewing the subject, he admitted to jumping the fence onto the private property. The second subject was also identified. The investigation is ongoing and charges will be filed with the state attorney’s office for trespass.
• Officer Curbelo was patrolling Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area late at night when he observed a light being displayed from a vehicle in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of game. The officer stopped the vehicle and found two subjects with spotlights and a loaded rifle near the occupants. The vehicle operator’s driver’s license had been expired for several years. The subjects were arrested and charged with driving with an expired driver’s license for more than six months, hunting at night, and using a light in a manner of disclosing the presence of game while in possession of a weapon used to take deer.
• Officer Specialist Crosby responded to a call he received from the Okeechobee Police Chief that he had located subjects illegally camping on the Grassy Island portion of South Florida Water Management District property. Upon arrival, contact was made with the two subjects who were illegally camping on the property. After checking the subjects for wants or warrants, one subject was found to have an out-of-county warrant for their arrest and was transported to the county jail. Both subjects were issued notices to appear for illegally camping and entering SFWMD property after hours. Additionally, trespass warnings were issued to both subjects for the Grassy Island property at the request of the SFWMD land steward.