In a bizarre stretch of poorly-written state statutes, a local game warden went 'Barney Fife' at an OKC metro flea market.
A traveling artist was slapped with a $340 citation and his entire inventory was confiscated. He could yet be jailed for 60 days.
Dean Summers is a creative artist who travels a few states, going to swap meets and flea markets, to sell his wildlife art. His MosaicSkulls.com is growing a fanbase. Some of his more popular pieces are from recovered road-kill deer & elk. His commerce helps clean up the roads and make them safer, while providing customers with wall pieces for lodges & cabins. He recovers antlers which animals naturally shed annually, and he decorates them with his signature gems or other colorful accessories. Summers says he finds these items, or others just drop them off for him. But he also finds them on nature hikes and drives.
Section C of the statute authorizes the State Wildlife Dept to sell the art and keep the procedes for the govt. agency.
A 1974 law which some say was clearly designed to protect endangered species; was written in a way that could lead to some unspecified leather & fur clothing being confiscated. The Oklahoma retailer is required to prove his innocence and have all items documented showing the specific source, date, & manner in which he obtained the animal parts.
KFOR reached out to the Oklahoma Wildlife Dept. and posted this response from Micah Holmes; “It’s illegal to sell wildlife or wildlife parts,” said Holmes. “Even when they are legally harvested, you can’t sell that wildlife. Even when it’s part of an art project or something like that, except for very specific circumstances.”
This is clearly not equitably enforced to the letter of the law, since buckskin, alligator, and many other hides are sold at boot shops, & are not documented. Leather coats and belts, fur shops, and even bone-handled knives are not documented in retailers' inventories.
Clearly this law is both poorly written, and selectively enforced.
Rather than monitoring the lakes and meadows for folks violating the laws of harvesting fish & game, this particular game warden decided his time was better spent going to flea markets and swap meets.
Title 29. Game and Fish
Chapter 1 - Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Code
Article Article 7 - Miscellaneous Provisions
Section 7-503 - Prohibitions on Certain Buying, Bartering, Trading, Selling or Offering, or Exposing for Sale
Cite as: O.S. §, __ __
A. Except as otherwise provided for by law, no person may buy, barter, trade, sell or offer, or expose for sale all or any part of any fish or wildlife or the nest or eggs of any bird, protected by law. The carcasses or any parts thereof of legally acquired furbearing animals or coyotes may be purchased, bartered, traded, sold or offered for sale. The fur or pelt of legally acquired squirrels may be purchased, bartered, traded, sold or offered for sale.
B. Persons licensed to propagate or sell fish or wildlife pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Code and persons who have documentation of legally purchased fish or wildlife or parts thereof for resale are exempt from the provisions of this section.
C. All wildlife or parts thereof seized pursuant to the provisions of this section and determined to be unfit for release in a suitable locale shall be sold. The proceeds from said sale shall be deposited in the Wildlife Conservation Fund.
D. No person shall buy, barter, trade, or sell, within this state, any furbearing animal, game animal, or game fish, or any part thereof, acquired from a source within or outside of this state unless at the time and place of each such sale, the seller shall possess an invoice signed by the person from whom said seller purchased said animals or fish, which shall contain a statement of the source from which said animals or fish were acquired, and the species and quantity of each species, or parts thereof, delivered to said seller.
E. Persons who have obtained legal possession of wildlife or parts of wildlife after being given to the person for taxidermic preparation or processing of the meat for consumption shall be permitted to dispose of such, unless otherwise prohibited by law, under rules established by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission.
F. The animal, bird, fish, or part thereof shall be confiscated by the arresting authority and forwarded to the Commission to be held until the matter is resolved. If a person violating the provisions of this section is convicted, the Commission shall retain and properly dispose of the confiscated animal, bird, fish, or part thereof. If a person accused of violating the provisions of this section is acquitted, the confiscated animal, bird, fish, or part thereof shall be returned to the possession of the person from whom it was confiscated.
G. The first violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not less than ten (10) days nor more than sixty (60) days, or by both said fine and imprisonment.
Subsequent violations of the provisions of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not less than ten (10) days nor more than sixty (60) days, or by both said fine and imprisonment.
Laws 1974, SB 144, c. 17, § 7-503, emerg. eff. April 8, 1974; Amended by Laws 1979, HB 1450, c. 194, § 1, eff. October 1, 1979; Amended by Laws 1983, HB 1332, c. 93, § 1, emerg. eff. July 1, 1983; Amended by Laws 1991, HB 1619, c. 182, § 54, eff. September 1, 1991; Amended by Laws 1994, HB 1921, c. 318, § 17, emerg. eff. June 8, 1994; Amended by Laws 1996, HB 2177, c. 135, § 4, emerg. eff. July 1, 1996; Amended by Laws 2000, HB 2326, c. 122, § 2, eff. November 1, 2000 (superseded document available); Amended by Laws 2003, HB 1565, c. 96, § 1, eff. November 1, 2003 (superseded document available).
Citationizer© Summary of Documents Citing This Document
CiteNameLevelOklahoma Session Laws - 2000
2000 O.S.L. 122, 2000 O.S.L. 122,[HB 2326] - An Act relating to game and fish; amending 29 O.S. 1991, Section 5-411, (29 O.S. Supp. 1999, Section 5-411), which relates to hunting, buying or selling certain species; allowing certain persons to sell legally obtained hide, antlers, or horns, etc.Discussed at Length
Citationizer: Table of Authority
CiteNameLevelTitle 29. Game and Fish
29 O.S. 7-503,"Prohibitions on Certain Buying, Bartering, Trading, Selling or Offering, or Exposing for Sale."Cited