Bear Poaching Suspects Named

GA DNR Col. Eddie Henderson ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

A law enforcement task force of federal and state investigators spent four years tracking down people accused of illegal poaching in North Carolina, Georgia and adjacent states.

“Operation Something Bruin” bagged more than 80 people who are believed to have broken conservation laws in the killing of bears and other wildlife.

Eight defendants are from Georgia.  They face a total of 136 violations of state laws.  Some might also be charged with federal violations.

Col. Eddie Henderson, chief of the Wildlife Resources Division’s Law Enforcement Section, emphasized that the effort also reinforces the public’s role in helping combat poaching and conserve wildlife.

“Conservation officers cannot be everywhere,” Henderson said.  “The public can be a great asset by reporting poaching and suspicious activity through their state’s toll-free report-a-violation line.  Wildlife belongs to everyone.  Reporting poaching helps us protect something the public owns.”

Officers with Georgia DNR and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission infiltrated poaching circles to document violations including:

  • bear baiting
  • illegal take of bears, deer and other wildlife
  • illegal use of dogs
  • illegal operation of bear pens in North Carolina and
  • guiding hunts on national forest lands without the required permits.

Violators are accused of using peanut butter to attract bears to shoot, among other illegal activities.

In the United States of America, the greatest nation of all, we presume the innocence of people accused of crimes, until proven guilty according to local, state and/or federal laws.  With that in mind, we publish the names of those accused in the Operation Something Bruin investigation:

BRENT THOMAS (Cleveland, GA, 39 years old)

WHITE County-3

  • 27-3-27 Unlawful use of bear bait
  • 27-3-9 Hunting Big Game over bait
  • 16-7-43 Littering

 

LUMPKIN County-46

  • 27-1-31 Possession of illegally taken wildlife 2 counts
  • 16-7-43 Littering 2 counts
  • 40-6-253 Open container 1 count
  • 27-3-1.1 (1) Possession of a firearm on a closed WMA 7 counts
  • 27-1-3-1.1 Hunting on a closed WMA 7 counts
  • 27-3-13 Hunting from a motor vehicle 8 counts
  • 27-3-48 Hunting deer at night 8 counts
  • 27-1-3 (Regulation 391-4-2-.64 (1)) Hunting black bear with the use and aid of dogs 2 counts
  • 27-3-10 Hunting from a public road 8 counts
  • 27-3- 4 Hunting with illegal weapon 1 count

 

GREENE County-11

  • 27-3-48 Hunting deer at night 2 counts
  • 27-3-10 Hunting from a public road 2 counts
  • 27-3-13 Hunting from a motor vehicle 2 counts
  • 27-3-9 Hunting Big Game Over bait 2 counts
  • 27-3-31 Possession of illegally taken wildlife 1 count
  • 16-7-43 Littering 1 count
  • 40-6-253 Open container 1 count

 

WILKES County-11

  • 27-3-13 Hunting from a motor vehicle 2 counts
  • 16-7-43 Littering 2 counts
  • 40-6-253 Open container 2 counts
  • 27-3-48 Hunting deer at night 2 counts
  • 27-3-10 Hunting from a public road 2 counts
  • 27-1-31 Possession of illegally taken wildlife 1 count

 

UNION County-20

  • 27-1-3-1.1 Hunting on a closed WMA 4 counts
  • 27-3-48 Hunting deer at night 4 counts
  • 27-3-1.1 (1) Possession of a firearm on a closed WMA 4 counts
  • 27-3-10 Hunting from a public road 4 counts
  • 27-3-13 Hunting from a motor vehicle 4 counts

 

FANNIN County-5

  • 27-3-1.1 (1) Possession of a firearm on a closed WMA
  • 27-3-10 Hunting from a public road
  • 27-1-3-1.1 Hunting on a closed WMA
  • 27-3-13 Hunting from a motor vehicle
  • 27-3-48 Hunting deer at night

 

TALIAFERRO County-5

  • 27-3-48 Hunting deer at night
  • 27-3-10 Hunting from a public road
  • 27-3-13 Hunting from a motor vehicle
  • 16-7-43 Littering
  • 40-6-253 Open container

CINDY CLANTON (Hoschton, GA, 43 years old)

LUMPKIN County-5

  • 27-3-1.1 (1) Possession of a firearm on a closed WMA 1 count
  • 27-3-10 Hunting from a public road 1 count
  • 27-1-3-1.1 Hunting on a closed WMA 1 count
  • 27-3-13 Hunting from a motor vehicle 1 count
  • 27-3-48 Hunting deer at night 1 count

GEORGE STONE (Crawfordville, GA, 43 years old)

WILKES County-1

  • 27-2-11 Possession of whitetail deer without game holding permit

RONDAL WESTMORELAND (Cleveland, GA, 65 years old)

WHITE County-3

  • 27-2-42 Hunting while license revoked 1 count
  • 27-1-3 (Regulation 391-4-2-.64 (1)) Hunting black bear with the use and aid of dogs 1 count
  • 27-3- 4 Hunting with illegal weapon 1 count

CALE STANCIL (Rabun Gap, GA, 40 years old)

RABUN County-8

  • 27-3-27 Unlawful use of bear bait 3 counts
  • 27-3-9    Hunting Big Game over bait 3 counts
  • 27-1-31(a) Possession of illegally taken wildlife 1 count
  • 27-1-3 (Regulation 391-4-2-.64) Hunting bear with dogs during closed season 1 count

WALTER STANCIL (Rabun Gap, GA, 65 years old)

RABUN County-16

  • 27-3-27 Unlawful use of bear bait 8 counts
  • 27-1-31(a) Possession of illegally taken wildlife 2 counts
  • 27-3-9 Hunting Big Game over bait 4 counts
  • 27-3-1 Hunting without permission 1 count
  • 27-1-3 (Regulation 391-4-2-.64) Hunting bear with dogs during closed season 1 count

JERRY PARKER (Rabun Gap, GA, 61 years old)

RABUN County-4

  • 27-3-9 Hunting Big Game over bait 1 count
  • 27-1-3 (Regulation 391-4-2-.64) Hunting bear with dogs during closed season 1 count
  • 16-7-43 Littering 2 counts

JACK BILLINGSLEY (Scaly Mountain, NC, 69 Years Old)

RABUN County-1

  • 27-1-3 (Regulation 391-4-2-.64) Hunting bear with dogs during closed season 1 count

 

Operation Something Bruin will help agencies better train officers to catch  those who persist in wildlife theft.

Click Here for Operation Something Bruin.org

Fewer than 10% of wildlife crimes are reported.  Please help protect Georgia’s wildlife.

Click Here to Report Illegal Wildlife Poaching