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Game wardens speak to Rotary

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POSTED: February 1, 2014 10:07 a.m.
Photo by Randy C. Murray/

DNR Conservation Ranger 1st Class Jack Thein and Conservation Ranger Sgt. Wayne Hubbard spokes to the Hinesville Rotary Club Tuesday.

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Due to their strong association with the military, Hinesville Rotary Club members are used to hearing presentations by Army Rangers.
During Tuesday’s meeting, however, they heard from two conservation rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Guest speakers representing DNR were Conservation Ranger 1st Class Jack Thein and Conservation Ranger Sgt. Wayne Hubbard. Thein works primarily in Liberty and Bryan counties, while Hubbard works in Long, Wayne and McIntosh counties.
State budget cuts are affecting the number of rangers. Thein said that in 2007, Georgia had only 13 counties without a conservation ranger, but in 2013 that number was 39. He said conservation rangers attend a 23-week academy, and then have to train another 18 weeks by working with an experienced ranger.
Hubbard said many people still refer to conservation rangers as game wardens, a name taken from the idea that all Georgia’s wild game are wards of the state. He said even though landowners own their land and may harvest wild game or fish for their own use, wildlife on their land is owned and managed by the state through DNR.
He said one of the crimes their investigative unit responds to is the commercial sale of wildlife. Because the wildlife belongs to the state, it’s illegal to harvest large numbers of deer for commercial profit, he said.
Hubbard said other ranger duties include enforcing wildlife, environmental, boating and other state and federal laws, rules and regulations. They patrol their counties using cars, trucks, boats, aircraft, all-terrain vehicles and on foot, he said.
Thein added that conservation rangers conduct hunter- and boater-safety classes as well as presentations to civic groups.
“The most common citations we issue are for boating safety violations,” Thein said. “We don’t issue a citation for all minor offenses, but if a boat does not have the required life vests for the number of people in the boat, we’ll issue a citation and escort that boat back to shore. Most hunting citations are for hunting on someone’s land without permission and hunting at night.”
Rotary member Jeff Ricketson asked Thein to define night hunting. Thein said it depends on what is being hunted but in most cases, it refers to hunting 30 minutes prior to sunup and 30 minutes after sunset. Ricketson then asked if that 30-minute window was based on the hunter’s watch or the ranger’s watch. Thein, Hubbard and numerous Rotary members laughed as Thein explained they normally allow some leeway on that.
Rotary member Gregory Loskoski said one of the things conservation rangers do that many people are not aware of is patrolling lakes and rivers for boaters driving under the influence and searching waters for a drowning victim.
For more information about Georgia DNR, go to www.georgiawildlife.com.

 

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