One of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s top honors was bestowed recently to Thomson-based law enforcement Corporal Mike Crawley and his canine partner, Storm.
Crawley, whose territory includes Washington and Johnson counties, was named as Investigative Ranger of the Year for ongoing excellence on the job that included a 2011 case in which a poacher was charged with 18 violations and later was fined $2,500 and banned from holding a hunting license for two years.
The poaching case in Washington County began with a complaint about trespassing on private property. Assisting Crawley was Storm, who helped in the detection of evidence, including an injured deer and tire tracks. Over the next few weeks, Crawley gathered information on the suspected violator, and later served the suspect with an arrest warrant.
The charges included possession of illegally taken wildlife, taking over the limit, violating a crop damage permit and other offenses.
Storm, a 90-pound shepherd from the Czech Republic, is among the department’s newest canines. Storm joined Crawley in 2010 and underwent an 11-week training program at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center’s Canine Academy in Forsyth, Ga., which included instruction in tracking, apprehension, officer protection, building search and evidence recovery.
STURGEON LISTED: The Atlantic sturgeon was officially given protection last week as an endangered species, joining the shortnose sturgeon that already had federal protection.
Both species are native to the East Coast and can be found in the Savannah River all the way up to New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam near Augusta.
The prehistoric-looking Atlantic sturgeon dates back to the era of the dinosaurs. The fish can live 60 years or more and grow to lengths of 14 feet and weigh up to 800 pounds.
The listing, which includes the Carolina subspecies found in the Savannah River, was affirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association after a 2009 request from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
BUSSEY TURKEY HUNTS: The Army Corps of Engineers will play host to three turkey hunts this spring in the Bussey Point Management Area at Thurmond Lake.
The 2,545-acre peninsula located at the convergence of the Savannah and Little rivers in Lincoln County includes more than 20 miles of trails, along with primitive camping and picnic sites. The first two hunts are scheduled for April 6 and 7 and are open to any adult hunter with a valid Georgia hunting license. The following weekend, the corps will play host to a youth hunt on April 14 for children ages 15 and younger.
Children must be accompanied by an adult who is licensed according to Georgia hunting regulations. The accompanying adults will not be allowed to carry a weapon.
Each hunt will be limited to 10 hunters selected by a random drawing.
Selected hunters may submit a request with name, desired hunt date, phone number and mailing address via e-mail to bring a guest to accompany them; however, guests will not be allowed to carry a weapon.
To enter the drawing, email@example.com or mail to Ken Boyd, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, J. Strom Thurmond Project Office, 510 Clarks Hill Highway, Clarks Hill, SC 29821-9703.