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Hunters should be alert for signs of illegal grows
OSKALOOSA – According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, two men were arrested in connection with a cultivated marijuana grow found on the Lower Ferguson Marsh on the Perry Wildlife Area. Hunters reported what they thought that was a “weed grow” – wild marijuana. However, after a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) game warden met with the hunters and viewed the field, he determined it was a cultivated plot.
The KDWPT game warden requested assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and on October 4, the warden and a sheriff’s officer watched the field. At sundown, the officers observed two men cut and bag marijuana stalks. The two men, one from Pomona and one from Savannah, Mo. were arrested and charged with unlawful cultivation of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of controlled substances, unlawful possession of certain drug precursors and paraphernalia, distribute or possession with intent to distribute drug paraphernalia, and no drug stamp.
Illegal marijuana plots on public and private lands are not uncommon across the country. They are usually located in remote areas with low human traffic, but as fall hunting seasons open, chances of illegal fields being discovered increase.
KDWPT law enforcement staff reminds hunters and anyone else spending time in remote areas of private or public lands this fall to be vigilant and cautious.
“If you come across what you think could be cultivated marijuana plants, note the location, back out of the area and contact either a KDWPT game warden or the local sheriff’s office,” KDWPT Law Enforcement Division Director Kevin Jones recommended. “You have to assume that whoever is cultivating the plants doesn’t want them found, and if they are in the area, you could be in danger.”
Jones said that while only a small number of illegal grows have been reported on Kansas public lands, even one is cause for caution. He recommends hunters add cell phone numbers of local game wardens into their cell phone contact lists. These numbers are listed on Page 45 the 2013 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary by county of jurisdiction. The toll-free Operation Game Thief number, 1-877-426-3843, should also be included. These numbers will allow hunters to report suspicious activity quickly, increasing the chances of catching the culprits. The local sheriff’s office can be reached by dialing 911.
Marijuana is a lush, green plant that can grow up to 20 feet tall. It has jagged leaves with three to thirteen fingers, always an odd number. In addition to the marijuana plants, other signs of illegal grows include PVC pipe, black drip line tubing, trash piles and evidence of human activity and traffic that looks out of place. Jones emphasizes that anyone finding such evidence should get away from the area immediately and report it to law enforcement as soon as possible.