Operation Game Thief Shoot-Out Today In Austin
Today sportsmen will join forces with state game wardens at the annual Operation Game Thief (OGT) ClayStoppers shoot at the newly inaugurated sporting clays range at Texas Disposal Services Exotic Game Ranch and Pavilion in Creedmoor. At today’s event—as in all ClayStopper shoots—prizes will be awarded to the top teams with a Grand Prize of a lifetime Texas Hunting and Fishing license for the high overall individual shooter, courtesy of Academy Sports and Outdoors. But even if your shooting is a little amiss at these, participants will still be able to bid on a mouthwatering array of sportsmen’s “necessities” on the auctions and raffles – including rifles, shotguns, handguns, a season-long dove lease for four with a Benelli shotgun included, fishing trips and lots, lots more! McBride’s Guns in Austin is the shoot’s major sponsor. Other sponsorships are available starting at $1,250. Entry fee for teams is $1,000, and $250 for individual shooters. Lunch is a scrumptious meal prepared by wardens who are as adept at cooking as at catching crooks! For entry information or sponsorships, go to www.ogttx.com or contact Lori Brock at 512-389-4381. Poaching is a fish and wildlife crime, and despite massive fines, staggering civil restitution judgments, jail time and the career-damaging effect of a possible felony –- poaching still goes on. But fortunately for game and fish resources, so do tips from the public. Rewards up to $1,000 each have been paid by OGT to members of the public for information leading to poaching convictions. The total amount of rewards paid so far totals well over $200,000, and is growing. Convictions resulting from 28,000 tip calls have led to fines totaling nearly $1,180,000! Operation Game Thief is a legislatively-created fish and wildlife crime stoppers anti-poaching posse administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and a committee of private citizens. It is funded entirely by memberships, sale of merchandise, private donations and fund raising events each year. No state funds are involved. In addition to the rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction, much- needed equipment is provided to wardens, like night vision goggles, digital scouting cameras, robotic game decoys, GPS units, the popular “Wall of Shame” trailers displaying illegally taken game and fish, safety breastplates, mobile radio towers and many other items. Due to restrictive state budgets, this equipment might have been otherwise unattainable. Regrettably, OGT has also provided death benefits to families of wardens killed in the line of duty. Without the generous backing of conscientious, conservation-minded sportsmen supporting OGT, none of this could have happened. Joining this posse is easy. All a person has to do is sign up for one of the ClayStopper shoots as an individual shooter or as a member of a team. These are 50-bird shoots (100 birds in Houston) and they also include optional flurries ($20) and a chance to outshoot a warden ($25) — at clay birds! Shooters must provide their own ammo. You’ll have two more chances to participate this year in Houston on Aug. 22 at Westside Sporting Grounds, and in San Antonio on Oct. 10 at the National Shooting Sports Complex. To report illegal hunting or fishing activities, call 1-800-792-GAME (4263), a confidential, toll-free number. Callers can also text 847411. And it just might pay the caller for information!