Area deer camps fall prey to burglars

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

[11/30/04]When burglars broke into the Youngton Road camp house of Buck Creek Hunt Club in August, they bypassed the television and microwave.

“They didn’t touch that,” said Jimmy Whitaker, a member of the club.

Instead, burglars took two trophy deer heads, several sets of horns and several deer skulls from the hunting camp.

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This year, four break-ins at hunting camps lodges have been reported to the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. Several more thefts of hunting equipment such as four-wheelers and deer stands have been reported, as well.

Deer season began Oct. 1, with the opening of archery hunting. Gun hunting is currently open and will end Jan. 19. Archery, thought closed now, will be open intermittently until Jan. 31.

Hunting camps burglaries actually slack off during hunting season, Undersheriff Jeff Riggs said.

“The biggest thing is the off-season or the first of the season when people start bringing stuff up,” Riggs said.

That doesn’t mean burglaries won’t happen, Riggs said. A place that is often left for several days at a time will always be a likely target.

“Some people leave their stuff there and (the burglary) is not discovered for a week, two weeks or a month at a time,” Riggs said.

Solving burglaries at hunting camps can be difficult for law enforcement.

Riggs suggested that hunters make contact with local landowners and ask them to keep an eye out. He also said four-wheelers and other equipment should be kept out of plain sight.

That list should probably include trophy mounts.

Quint Mason, who lives on Youngton Road, had a similar break-in near the same time as Whitaker’s.

“I came home and saw the carport door had been kicked in,” Mason said. “I went to check my guns first.”

Finding nothing amiss, Mason called the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and sat down to watch television. When a deputy arrived, he asked Mason if any trophy mounts were missing. That’s when Mason noticed an unfamiliar blank space on the wall.

“I couldn’t imagine what anyone would do with it,” Mason said. “That’s what’s so mind-boggling to me.”

The stealing of trophy mounts is an anomaly, Riggs said.

“That’s something new. I don’t know what that trend is saying,” Riggs said. “The norm is televisions, food and four-wheelers.”

Larry Winningham, owner of Backwoods Taxidermy, was at a loss to explain why a person would steal a hunting trophy, except, perhaps, to claim it as their own.

“I really don’t why someone would steal a deer head unless they wanted to brag on it,” Winningham said.

Winningham did say horns are worth a lot of money in some parts of the world, though less so in Mississippi. Horns can be used a handle when making a knife.

Trafficking any part of a game animal like deer is illegal in the state, Riggs said.