As hunting season approaches, TWRA looks to crack down on poachers

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The state gets hundreds of complaints every year in Middle Tennessee about poaching.  

Hunting is a popular past-time here in Tennessee, but poachers turn the past-time into a crime. 

Sergeant Matt Brian has arrested dozens of poachers on his own. He says catching them can be dangerous. 

“A lot of times we do encounter people who have guns. While a lot of those people aren’t trying to do anything harmful with them, there’s the potential for an unsafe situation.”  

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency or the TWRA, employ armed officers.  

They receive the same training as police officers and it’s up to them to investigate illegal hunting and make the arrests. 

“Got some corn over here. This is typically what we find in the woods if we find a set that’s illegal,” said Sgt. Brian.  

Sergeant Brian set up a typical baiting scenario for us. 

“Sometimes hunters will try to gain an advantage by putting out corn. Deer love to eat it, obviously.”  

It is illegal to bait deer in Tennessee, like what these guys were caught doing on video. It is also illegal to shoot an animal from the road and to hunt out of season. 

Deer and Turkey can be hunted in Tennessee during times of the year, which you can find on the TWRA website.  

Sergeant Brian says most poachers who hunt out of season or use bait are just looking for the easy way to hunt. 

“Sitting in a tree stand all day; getting up early and staying until late in the afternoon, it’s time-consuming,” said Sgt. Brian.  

He says illegal hunting can hurt the animal population and it puts others in danger 

“If you’re driving around trying to illegally shoot a deer, there could be something behind there that target that you don’t know,” said Brian.  

That’s why the TWRA takes illegal hunting seriously. The agency asks the public to help them catch poachers and call in any complaints or tips. 

You could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony if you’re caught illegally hunting. 

You could also be fined hundreds of dollars up to thousands of dollars and lose your gun, your vehicle, and your hunting rights.

Click here for more stories featured in Animal Crime Investigators. 

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