Checkpoints lead officers to other violations
Speeds exceeded 100 mph Nov. 16 during a chase by wildlife officers in pursuit of a hunting violation suspect in northern Fulton County on Hill String Road, north of Viola.
Officers pursued Kurtis Neal, 30, the driver of a 1998 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, after he allegedly fired a rifle at a deer decoy, said Sgt. Scott Watkins of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.When officers attempted to apprehend Neal he fled the scene and the high speed chase ensued along a portion of Highway 223 North.
The Arkansas State Police provided assistance with the pursuit. Neal attempted to elude law enforcement officers by pulling his vehicle into a residence and parking the truck in the back yard, Watkins said. But officers searched the vicinity, located the vehicle and apprehended Neal.
Neal was arrested and charged with road hunting, fleeing and reckless driving. The truck was towed and the firearm was seized. He was transported to the Fulton County Sheriff's Office but released the same day after posting bond.
The following day wildlife officers conducted a wildlife checkpoint on Highway 69 near Mount Pleasant and issued warnings and citations for hunting violations.During the checkpoint which lasted over four hours, 326 vehicles were stopped and occupants were given a standard questionnaire, said Watkins.
Of the 326 stopped, 71 vehicles had occupants who were involved with hunting and/or fishing and were detained for follow-up questions. Officers detected 10 violations including hunter orange requirements, game check requirements, possession of wildlife without written verification and hunting turkey during a closed season.
Information about seven other violations was passed to officers, as well. An Arkansas Game and Fish Commission K-9 unit called Moose was instrumental in detecting some of the violations, including the location of an illegal turkey, Watkins said.
Operations such as ones conducted Nov. 16-17 are becoming more frequent in the state. Checkpoints provide wildlife officers with information about regulation compliance, hunting pressure and hunting success, Watkins added.