LITTLE ROCK — Wildlife officials said Thursday they believe they have broken up a deer poaching operation in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.
Nine residents in rural Sevier County Arkansas and four in McCurtain County Oklahoma have been issued citations or warnings, accused of illegally harvesting as many as 45 deer along the border between the two states over several months, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said.
Along with citations for illegal deer hunting, the 13 were cited for possessing over the limit of deer and other game violations, the commission said.
"It was a group that was acting together," Game and Fish spokesman Keith Stephens said Thursday, adding that several of the 13 were related.
A total of 32 citations and 26 warnings were issued for violations that occurred in Arkansas, the commission said. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife also issued numerous citations.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers participated in the 14-month investigation.
"This was a great team effort by several agencies to support our hunters who abide by the state’s regulations, protect Arkansas’s valuable natural resources and allow the public to safely enjoy them," state Game and Fish Cpl. Brad Young said in a news release.
"It took an intensive effort from Arkansas and Oklahoma officers, as well as the USFWS, to stop this poaching operation," G&FC Chief of Enforcement Todd Callaway said. "Wildlife officers from all over the area worked together to make this case."