12 Virginians charged with wild turkey violations

Spring turkey season started on April 13 and ran through May 18

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager
WCVB via CNN

RICHMOND, Va. - After an extensive investigation, 12 people face a combined 47 charges due to wild turkey violations in Virginia.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says violations happened in six counties and cities in the commonwealth.

During the course of the investigation, DGIF officers from Greensville, Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry and Sussex counties spent hundreds of hours reviewing surveillance footage, suspect interviews, data analysis, evidence processing, legal process and executing multiple search warrants.

The spring turkey season started on April 13 and ran through May 18.

The season allows hunters the opportunity to harvest up to three bearded turkeys, but only one turkey may be harvested per day.

Turkeys that are legally harvested must be tagged at the place of harvest and checked in upon vehicle transport or at the conclusion of legal hunting hours, whichever occurs first.

The officers conducting this investigation suspected that the involved individuals were failing to adhere to the applicable laws and regulations and were not tagging and/or checking their turkeys, exceeding their daily bag limit and exceeding their season bag limit.

Of the violations detected:

  • 18 counts of failure to check a turkey
  • 9 counts of hunting after obtaining the season or daily limit
  • 9 counts of exceeding the season limit
  • 6 counts of failing to validate the turkey tag at the place of harvest
  • 2 counts of exceeding the daily limit
  • 2 counts of illegal possession of wildlife
  • 1 count of hunting without a license

Below are the names of the 12, as well as the charges filed against each person: 

  • Kyle Bjorkman, 29, of Virginia Beach, charged with failure to check a wild turkey
  • Jack Gentry, 18, of Virginia Beach, charged with failure to check a wild turkey
  • Joseph John, 78, of Virginia Beach, charged with failure to check a wild turkey
  • James Modlin Jr., 43, of Virginia Beach, charged with failure to check a wild turkey and failure to validate a wild turkey tag at the place of harvest
  • Mark Morrell, 58, of Chesapeake, charged with failure to check a wild turkey, failure to validate a wild turkey tag at the place of harvest, exceeding the season limit of wild turkeys and unlawful possession of wildlife
  • Alexander Strangways, 28, of Virginia Beach, charged with four counts of failure to check a wild​​​​​​ turkey and four counts of exceeding the season limit of wild turkeys.
  • Thomas Vaughan, 40, of Emporia, charged with four counts of failure to check a wild turkey, four counts of failure to validate a wild turkey tag at the place of harvest, seven counts of hunting after​​​​​​​ obtaining the season or daily limit or wild turkeys, two counts of exceeding the season limit on​​​​​​​ wild turkeys and one count of exceeding the daily bag limit of wild turkeys
  • Drew Wilkinson, 29, of Virginia Beach, charged with failure to check a wild turkey
  • Matthew Wilkinson, 33, of Virginia Beach, charged with failure to check a wild turkey
  • Hunter Young, 21, of Virginia Beach, charged with hunting without the proper licenses
  • Val Rapp Jr, 51, of Windsor, charged with three counts of failure to check a wild turkey, two counts​​​​​​​ of hunting after obtaining bag limit, two counts of exceeding the yearly bag limit of wild turkeys,​​​​​​​ and illegal possession of wildlife
  • James Britt, 43, of Zuni, charged with exceeding the daily bag limit of wild turkeys ​​​​​​

"These cases are very important not only for the sustainability of our natural wild turkey population, but for those lawful hunters who have been deprived the opportunity to harvest a spring turkey due to the greedy and selfish behaviors by those violating our game laws, says Major Scott Naff, the Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement Operations for Virginia's Conservation Police. "I am very proud of the efforts of our officers and I can assure you that this investigation has sent ripples through the poaching community and will hopefully result in keeping others who are tempted to violate the law, to resist and help to conserve our natural resources.

Additional violations were identified in North Carolina and were referred to state law enforcement officers for investigation.

Copyright 2019 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.