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SIOUX CITY - The southbound Interstate-29 weigh station south of Sioux City was a busy place on the afternoon of November 15. It was the interviewing location for a game check point that identified and interviewed 620 people traveling on the interstate between noon and 5 p.m. that had been hunting, fishing or had a firearm in their vehicle.
“We were very busy, with pheasant and duck seasons open and deer in the rut, there was a lot of game going down the Interstate,” said Chad Morrow, state conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who along with fellow officer Steve Griebel helped to coordinate the project.
The Iowa DNR periodically conducts fish and game projects on interstate highways, state and county roads to check for compliance. Each project takes planning and cooperating among multiple agencies.
The special project involved 60 officers and staff from the Iowa DNR, Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), Iowa State Patrol, Woodbury County Sheriff’s Department, Woodbury County Conservation Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The amount of help really allowed the project to run smoothly and the cooperation among all the agencies was phenomenal,” Morrow said. “We planned this project to coincide with many different hunting seasons and checked a tremendous amount of game. The cooperation and coordination allowed all officers to efficiently work through the contacts.”
The Nov. 15 project was held from noon to 5 p.m. when hunters would likely be traveling home. It identified individuals in vehicles associated with hunting and addressed hundreds of violations through citations and warnings. The official count was 35 wildlife citations and one traffic citation.
The most common citation was for transporting pheasants without an attached foot, wing or head, as required by law. Each citation carries a fine and court costs totaling $195. Officials seized 166 pheasants and nine ducks.
Morrow said a handful of cases were referred to officers in other states where the violations occurred that were uncovered as part of the project.
South Dakota also conducted a game check on Interstate-90 around the same time as Iowa’s, but the efforts were not coordinated and there were no duplicate citations issued.