I have over the past 8 – 10 years purposely avoided reporting on poaching cases. There’s a couple of reasons, one being that I don’t think the exposure to those involved does anybody any good and generally any negative comments thrust upon actions by law enforcement personnel are usually met with negative comments in return from eager people who side with law enforcement saying they are just doing their jobs. Well, when does “just doing their jobs” cross over a line to become abuse of power and control?
Operation Something Bruin, was a sting operation set up in North Carolina and Northern Georgia in order address what officials described as a problem of several complaints about people illegally killing bears, illegally transporting them and illegal use of bear body parts.
But it seems that the law enforcement involved went a bit overboard and at times displayed what we Americans are seeing as a regular event in this country; massive displays of police authority and killing power that just doesn’t seem to fit the alleged crime.
In Operation Something Bruin, according to one news media account, of 80 supposed arrests, the majority were thrown out of court due to lack of evidence. The remainder of those collectively agree that law enforcement did the majority, if not all, of illegal bear killing and then tried to pin it on innocent people.
The $2 million operation is now under investigation.
One case involves a father and son who was asked by another hunter (undercover police officer) for help in finding a bear to shoot. They offered him their tree stand. After the officer shot a bear, he called the father and son and asked for help getting the bear out of the woods. They did so and was later charged with the illegal transportation of an illegally shot bear over state lines. The father and son were not present for either event.
Of course members of law enforcement defend their actions saying all this bear killing was necessary in order to be convincing to catch (entrap) poachers.
In another incident:
“Twenty-nine Wildlife and Forest Service agents stormed our home with automatic machine guns drawn,”
And then there is the man who was sentenced to 30 days in prison for hunting with a legal license but failed to purchase a $23 federal public land access fee.