Know what Logan M. Collins, Heriberto Garcia Jr., Terry Hebert, Zachary Nolan, Paul L. Page, Holden W. Saucier, Clarence Thibodaux, Lacy Thibodaux, Hunter Vaughn, Richard Wilson Jr. and Stacy Yates have in common?
It’s likely at least some of them know each other, because there was some tag-teaming going on here, and Hebert and the two with Thibodaux for their surnames certainly knew each other well, because they worked together, and you’ll find out later how well they allegedly worked together.
And, right off, let’s get this over — everything you’ll read after this requires the word “allegedly,” so this is the last time you’ll see it written here.
All have been cited, in some cases arrested and charged, with taking deer during illegal hours, all reported during the past three months. Well, at least they waited until the hunting season to begin this nefarious activity.
Guessing for the lack of a better term, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ information labels their activities “night hunting.”
How about stealing? How about poaching?
At least in the modern sense, hunters don’t hunt deer at night. Or rabbits. Or migratory birds. Or ducks and geese.
Although not yet convicted of any wildlife crime — yet — in each case, the aforementioned apparently weren’t in a deer stand, then fired a weapon at a deer a minute or two after legal shooting time, a half-hour after sunset.
In Vaughn’s case, the 20-year-old from Benton had a 16-year-old passenger and Vaughn was arrested for, according to the report, “possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia ... and hunting with artificial light.”
In several cases, none had the proper licensing and were using “artificial lights,” which, again, separates them from most hunters and modern hunting ethics.
Hebert and the Thibodaux pair were security guards at a Gibson business, and, from LDWF reports, placed “bait under street lights to attract deer,” then took the deer at night. Their activity attracted so much attention that Enforcement Division agents were able to surveil the baited locations.
In Collins’ case, the Gonzales 27-year-old was “possessing a stolen 12-gauge shotgun,” according to the report, which further stated, “Collins in possession of two pistols, two shotguns and three rifles.”
Saucier and Page have bigger problems, because their citations involved alleged violations in both Louisiana and Mississippi, and were arrested in Mississippi in late January.
That brings us to a point that must be made: The LDWF can demand, upon conviction, the violator pay civil restitution for illegally taking a deer. In Garcia’s case, the buck state agents cited could result in a fine of “$2,033 for the replacement value of the illegally taken buck,” the report stated.
If the police discovered someone with $2,000 of stolen merchandise, it’s reasonable to assume the alleged violator would be arrested and booked into jail. That doesn’t happen in some illegally taken deer cases.
And, it’s apparent Mississippi takes these violations more seriously. Saucier, of Franklinton, and Page, of Poplarville, Mississippi, had their vehicle seized, the spotlight and the forearms and face fines in Mississippi from $2,000-$5,000 for “spotlighting” deer, while the total for their three violations carry penalties in our state ranging from $1,250-$1,800 and possible total jail time of 270 days.
It’s an arguing point that these violations go under-reported in the media, and those among us who would cross the hunter-ethic threshold would see the potential error in these ways.
And, maybe it’s time for our State Legislature to revisit this activity and make the penalties so severe so as to be a deterrent to what only can be labeled a criminal activity.