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Please Tag!!


Active member
A message to all to make no simple mistakes.

On opening day of alligator trapping season my friend and I went to hunt alligators for the first time. My friend got his first alligator harvest permit and assigned me as his agent in harvesting. Went to the class that the fwc offered to learn as much as we could about trapping one of these creatures. I have a place on Lake Istokpoga and have been riding my airboat over there for a few years just cruising around fishing and riding with my family and friends for some time.
I thought alligator hunting would be fun and adventuresome to try especially when my friend wanted to apply for his trappers permit.
We went out the first night cruising around with all the necessary lights and equipment needed.
After a half an hour shinning eyes I spotted a gator worth getting. Not a very large gator but one not to be embarrassed over. After harpooning this animal the excitement kicked in we then killed the gator with a bang stick. Loaded it into the boat and headed towards home to get away from potentially bad storms. We got back to my dock and high fived with excitement and relief we actually got one and made it home. We iced it down and thought the night was still young and this was too much fun to give up this early.
We then left the dock to go partake into more of the lakes evening activities. After we entered the mouth of the lake I saw a shadow of a boat in the dark with no running lights just a waving flashlight to what looked like toward a speeding airboat passing it by. I thought maybe this boat was in distress so I proceeded up to it to make sure it was ok. This turned out to be the FWC I quickly acknowledged that I wanted to see if they needed help. The wanted to check us out and we told them that we were hunting gators and we had one back at the dock already. When the asked to see our permit my trapper noticed that he had both tags still and forgot to tag the gator we had already. ……
After volunteering to take the officers back to inspect the gator during the time I offered full consent to check my boat for all necessary safety equipment and willing to cooperate in any way I could explaining our first time doing this event elaborating on our experience with the storms, and my self slipping off the boat onto the gator while attempting to bang stick it and the seeing our eyes of excitement we went back to the dock to see we were sincere. I even heard the comment from one officer about writing us a warning of the issue. After our arrival for inspection we asked where do we go from here one of the officers said “ our Supervising officer is on the way it is now up to him to make the call� Upon his arrival his first words are both of you are under arrest for not tagging this alligator and I am taking your boat. After the initial officer talked to the Lt he then told us that he was letting us tag the gator and keeping it and then wrote us a ticket for court. I guess I am lucky that I still have my boat and my place over their and all that is left is to tell the judge.
Well thats a rough situation. I must say that I am surprised that the officer in the field was kind enough to talk to the LT and get you a break. You got lucky, you have your boat and gator.

What is the worst thing that can happen? I know if you are found guilty you may not be able to gator hunt for awhile.

If you have a clean record it might not be that bad. I am glad to hear you got a break.

You got to understand those guys see it all and hear it all. Hope you get a break in court.

Thanks for the heads up!
Thanks for the support. I see by your screen name we chew some of the same dirt so to say ( intrest in diving )
Yes I have not one arrest other than a speeding ticket for say. They ran a check on both of us.
one of my only concern not for my friends dismise because that is a big concern for both our out come,but we are going to try and save our chance to hunt again is the fact that I am not the trapper in this case I am only his aid in capture that we both agree that is not my responsibility to tag the animal in this case I had never even seen the tags and Whay would I even be charged for the infraction in other than being in possition with him. and for say that If I was to commit a crime of poching gators why would I need any tags or a permit
Hate to say this but in my opinon its a $$$ thing, Any chance they get to take a boat they will!!! during the time that a boat is conficated they will also drive it anytime they like (or at least so I am told) If they do keep your boat they'll sell it or use it either way they make out in the end. Sounded to me that it was an honest mistake but the guy in charge wasn't going to cut ya any slack and in his mind just wanted to get a NEW BOAT. You guys got VERY LUCKY

Just my 2 cents on this one
Well I am posting the final result of this incident; my friend and I had our court arraignment last Friday. He went first in the morning and I was that afternoon I guess because his last name starts with A and I am S. He called me with his result, which was $250 fine and $190 in court cost, but with no priors the record of conviction was tossed.
He did get to talk of the case, but his feeling is that the judge thought that is intent was he was just caught killing alligators intently with no permit, not hunting with the proper permit, but accidentally tagging.
My case went that afternoon. I sat in that court room listening to cases on people who did not speak English or in the county lockup for not driving with a license or domestic violence, domestic dispute, assault, battery, etc get fifty or one hundred dollar fines, and as slap on their pinky finger etc. There were people on the doc,s who were asked to leave the court room for not being properly dressed for court who were treated better than me when it came time to face the stand with no mention about showing up proper attired for court. When It was my turn I did not have as chance to explain my involvement just accept the same fate of fine and court cost and was treated with less respect than those who were deliberately in for previous convictions.
Sorry but my moral to the story is if you want to beat your spouse, threaten your best friend, beat your dog, drive away with no license to drive a car hold up a liquor stand, just don’t kill any wildlife with out tagging it first along the way and you will get a lesser fine!!
It is unbelievable how they act is it not. I assume this was in Osceola County. If it was they take game violations very serious.
Not good , but not to bad.

Will you get to go next year? or are you done for 10 yrs.

Face it, you did not play the game buy their rules. Get the tag in the tail.

Thank God, you got to keep the boat.

Best of luck.
Airboatcapt2":ytqzn4mz said:
I ended up with nothing, he wrote my father a ticket for something else instead.
Faron, Yall did not have access to your lease via roads? why the deer hunt with an airboat ? Port Mansfield?
Diver, Hate to be the bad news guy but legally you were arrested, when you recieved the notice to appear, that's and arrest without patting you down and hauling you in with tons of paper work. FWC doesn't give to many breaks in those situations because you are supposed to know the rules inside and out before you even go. Also even though the judge did not convict you of a crime, I would double check with the clerk of court and make sure ajudication was with held. Down the road you don't want this to haunt you.
Yes thanks for the concern; the judge said the adjudication was withheld. I feel that in many cases that you break the law you pay the fine. No doubt! I cannot say I have always done things without breaking the law, but certain situations may have call for that issue and during that time I knew that if I were caught I would have to pay. There are certain times that respectful judgment may have to call for a particular officer to see that there are two civilians who may have not followed directions very clear and this is where they need to execute a more civil act upon before just flashing there badges and using the full extent of power. The fact of the matter still stands is the two first officers were offering us a warning after observing that we had not initial intent of abiding the law, but Mr. LT shows up in the middle of the stop to call arrest.
I do not want to argue the aspect of not following rules, but the same situation with the Texas deer and game warden story on the post above. You have respectful officers in any division of law enforcement in the world with something to prove. I do not oppose any disrespect of the law, but FWC to me seems like the agency that has no agency. They always throw that threat of confiscating boats, vehicles, etc. Well If the had taken my boat and booked me for jail I would hire a lawyer to try and recover it back, I figure then I have $5k to commit for recovery of my property.
If you commit a moving violation on the road that calls for seizing the vehicle you pay a fine to retrieve your conveyance, why does this division achieve the power to strip ownership of such things other than there are no superceding agencies watching over them to represent public rights as I seen in that courtroom with public disputes being the way the were handled.
Hey I know what we did was not by the rules of the road, but sometimes obstacles are over put in place just to find someone in the wrong doing and the real picture is distorted by the ability to impose power influenced by the napoleon syndrome.
Glad to hear this was resolved. Sorry to hear of the trouble.

The state is taking public comments on the gator program. Ask them to streamline the rules to make so you don't have to read a rule book the size of "War & Peace."
Georgia's gators rules are short & sweet. Hunt 24/7 in one of eight zones. Very hard to break the few rules they have and you can carry a pistol with you while hunting.
Now ya'll know why I always hate it when someone says " well the officers will use common sense" that is most likely B.S., If they are having a bad day they are gonna make sure you have one to rememkber also.

Glad it worked out for you and you still have a boat and a house. It is always a good idea to have a lien holder on your title to your boat, it mkaes it harder for them to sieze it I have been told.