Oklahoma Game Wardens, the Facebook page of the state’s Department of Wildlife Conservation, posted chats between the warden and his ill-fated match on its Facebook page under the hashtag “#Datenight.”
The post said: “As Game Wardens our personal lives are often blurred into our professional lives. This is often the case when it comes to social media, personal cell phones, and now dating apps.”
In December messages between warden Cannon Harrison, 24, and a female Bumble match, she bragged about her latest illegal hunt. “How are you?” she wrote.
“No complaints, how about you?” replied Harrison.
“Oh, I’m great,” wrote the woman. “Just shot a bigo buck. Pretty happy about it.”
Harrison tells Yahoo Lifestyle that hunting as a dating icebreaker isn’t odd. “I live near one of the largest lakes in the southern half of the United States, and it’s a sportsman’s paradise here,” he says.
Making small talk with the woman, Harrison asked if she shot the deer with a bow, which is the only legal method in Oklahoma between Oct. 1 and Jan. 15. (Hunters can use rifles between Nov. 17 and Dec. 2.) “Well, we don’t need to talk about that,” she wrote.
“When she wouldn’t answer, it made me suspicious,” Harrison tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
So he wrote, “Haha spotlight?” — a reference to the illegal hunting method known as “spotlighting,” in which hunters shine a light into the eyes of a deer, causing the animal to freeze in terror. The tactic can draw heavy fines because hunters shoot from cars or from the road, risking the safety of pedestrians and giving themselves an unfair advantage, since the deer are too scared to run.
“Yeahhhh,” responded the woman, even saying where she had killed the deer. Harrison asked for a photo, which she wouldn’t send.
Harrison found the woman’s home address, and seven hours later, he and his team showed up on her doorstep. “She asked, ‘How did you figure this out? I only told two people,'” Harrison tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I asked, ‘Was one of them a stranger?’ She was shocked, like a deer caught in headlights.”
Harrison says the woman took her punishment well — two citations for possessing a deer not legally harvested and hunting deer with a rifle during archery season — and paid $1,400 in fines. “We could have given her a third citation, but she was very honest,” Harrison tells Yahoo Lifestyle. His team also cited her friend, who had driven the deer’s head to his home, for possessing a deer not legally harvested.
The woman’s rifle was confiscated, and she turned over graphic photos of her kill, including one of her crouched down holding the dead deer by the antlers.
Harrison tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he’s disappointed the two didn’t meet under better circumstances but that internet dating is an uncertainty. “You never know who you’re talking to.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: