February 7, 2023

CSI: Wildlife

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Plans for a new television show are underway, where specially trained scientists and game detectives seal off crime scenes with bright yellow tape, take photographs, collect as much evidence as they can, including samples for DNA testing and with all this information, officials can virtually re-enact the events that lead up to the shooting death of an eight point buck.

Sound like a good show? Well, the television show part of the story is made up but the rest of it is true. This is what is being played out more and more in the woods across America. Officials working to crack down on poachers.

In the past, game officials have been frustrated with attempts to prove guilt in poaching cases because there was never enough evidence to fully prosecute suspected criminals. Things they are a changing.

Officials now are using DNA testing to help prosecute poachers. In one Pennsylvania case, wardens busted three men for poaching. They actually caught them with one deer and no legal hunting licenses.

In the area where the poachers were carrying out their illegal deeds, several gut piles were found and dogs lead wardens to a house that had a freezer full of venison. DNA tests are being conducted to determine if the gut piles match the venison.

I can now see the head detective, wearing dark sunglasses, staring off into the woods, nose raised slightly into the air, hands on hips and queries, “Tell me about this venison here in your freezer.”

“Well, that’s fine. With our people and DNA tests, it looks like you’ll be doing some hard time.” (at this point we get a “dum dum” sound as cameras fade to a commercial. Tonights episode is brought to you by “Deer Cocaine” the ultimate in deer baiting equipment). Sorry! Where was I?

I guess it was only a matter of time before some real serious forensics would be used to help stop game law breakers. I’m sure that with the costs of these forensics, fines levied will have to go up to offset the cost of science.

Tom Remington