FOUKE, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – An Arkansas couple pleaded guilty to multiple illegal hunting charges after an investigation into an ongoing poaching scheme involving several ArkLaTex residents.
Oklahoma game wardens in McCurtain County have closed the investigation and seized several illegally taken deer and a bear from the couple’s Fouke home.
The federal charges were the result of an investigation throughout the summer of 2021 into members of a private hunting lease, mostly from Arkansas and Texas.
Wardens initially became concerned that several members were taking advantage of Oklahoma’s nonresident archery deer license.
On Nov. 20, wardens say they located the Fouke, Ark. man at his camp with a freshly killed buck.
When asked about a young bear killed in 2019 by his wife and three deer killed illegally by their juvenile sons in 2019-2020, the man claimed they were killed legally and checked in Arkansas.
The couple took a photo with the bear, which was about 1.5 years old and around 100 lbs.
When wardens explained a warrant served on his cell phone showed he was at the lease on each date, he confessed.
He told wardens his wife was at the deer stand and was hunting with a rifle. Before approaching him, wardens confirmed she only held a nonresident archery license.
Wardens say she arrived a half-hour later and told them she purchased a deer gun license that morning. An electronic check showed that she purchased one nine minutes before reaching the camp.
The couple, identified in court records as Christina Marie and Antonio Telles, Jr., was charged in McCurtain County and Miller County with multiple counts of possession of illegally taken deer and a bear without required licenses and several counts of failure to check them.
Arkansas game wardens located other illegally taken deer while at the couple’s home to seize the deer and bear, which the couple was also cited for.
They paid $2,840 total in fines.
The guilty pleas in Oklahoma carry a 2-year revocation of the man’s license and 1 year for the woman. In Arkansas, the minimum revocation is 5 years. The revocations apply in all 48 member states of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. They did not face federal charges for taking the killed animals across the state lines into Arkansas due to their cooperation.
When wardens went to the Wolf Hole to attempt to contact members who were suspected of illegal hunting, they also issued citations to members from Hallsville and Texarkana, Texas for failure to tag a deer and hunting without a license. Another member from Eagletown, Ok. was also cited for not checking his deer.