Louisiana Men Used Landfill Hogs to Cheat in a Hunting Contest, Authorities Say

Louisiana Men Used Landfill Hogs to Cheat in a Hunting Contest, Authorities Say

Six Louisiana men were arrested last week and slapped with 19 felonies and nine misdemeanors for allegedly cheating at two recent hog hunting contests in the Bayou State.

The men trapped the hogs at a landfill in Texas, brought them back to pens in Louisiana, and staged photos to make it look like they’d caught them for contests in Bienville and Caldwell Parishes, officials say. They took home the top prizes at both contests.

“The complaint was that they had hunted in Texas. Maybe one of the guys said something to someone, and word got out,” Sgt. Raymond Davis of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDFW) told MeatEater. “We went to investigate, and we were able to establish that, during the hunt dates, they were in the vicinity of a landfill in Buna, Texas, at the time that they took some of the photos and sent the pictures.”

Agents arrested Trace Davis, 30, of Longville, Hunter Webb, 27, of Pitkin, Colby Bushnell, 26, of Dry Creek, Davy Haymon, 35, of Pitkin, Nathan Granger, 34, of Vinton, and Don Pollard Jr., 40, of Pitkin, for hunting contest fraud and criminal conspiracy. Davis, Webb, Bushnell, Haymon, and Pollard Jr. were also arrested for violating interstate commerce. Davis was also arrested for obstruction of justice. Webb was also cited for hunting under a hunting license suspension.

LA hog hunting scandal

Hog hunters must catch their quarry with dogs in Louisiana on the dates specified, per the contest rules. Hunting parties are assigned a number, and they verify their catch by taking a picture with the hogs and holding up a sign with their number on it (sometimes they also use their fingers, as this team did). Entries are made to the contest by texting these photos to the organizer.

The Dingler Wild Hog Roundup in Bienville Parish took place on Feb. 9-10, and the Swamp Time Hog Hunt in Caldwell Parish ran from March 14-16.

Sgt. Davis had heard complaints about several of the suspects at the Caldwell contest last year, and so this year he launched an investigation with the help of other LDWF enforcement agents.

“I already had an idea that there was something going on, just not exactly sure how they were cheating,” he said.

They began collecting evidence and interviewing suspects, and it didn’t take long for the cheaters to cop to what they’d been doing. According to Davis, five of the six admitted in written statements to cheating at one or both of the contests.

“When we started interviewing them, a couple of the guys were very forthcoming and admitted to actually putting the hogs in a holding pen for the Bienville event prior to the hunt dates, and when it got time, they pulled the hogs out of the holding pens and staged the photos with them,” he said.

Davis is unsure whether the group had permission to hunt on the landfill property in Texas, and LDFW agents have been in touch with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. But the Louisiana Six are in enough trouble without additional trespassing charges in the Lone Star State.

It’s illegal to transport live wildlife across state lines without permission from the United States Department of Agriculture. The contest fraud felonies come from the group’s attempts to hoodwink contest organizers, and the criminal conspiracy felonies were leveled because they acted as a group to stage the fraudulent photos.

Trace Davis was also charged with obstruction for attempting to destroy evidence, and Hunter Webb was charged with hunting under a suspended license.

Hunting contest fraud brings up to a $3,000 fine and one year in jail. Criminal conspiracy carries a fine in the same manner as the offense contemplated by the conspirators. Violating interstate commerce brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Obstruction of justice carries up to a $10,000 fine and five years in jail. Hunting under a hunting license suspension brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Davis believes at least some of the suspects will try to fight the charges in court rather than take a plea deal.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that, unlike recent cheating scandals involving fishing contests, the prize money for hog contests in Louisiana is modest. Davis says the group won about $3,500 at the Caldwell event, and there were no cash prizes at the Bienville event.

Images via Capt. Trey Mason.

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