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Etowah city commissioner charged with several hunting violations

From NewsChannel 9: Wildlife officers recently arrested a city commissioner in Etowah and charged him with several hunting violations, including h

From NewsChannel 9: Wildlife officers recently arrested a city commissioner in Etowah and charged him with several hunting violations, including hunting on private property without the landowner’s permission.

 

Earlier this month, agents with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) arrested 43-year-old John William James, who is¬†listed as a commissioner on the City of Etowah’s website.

 

An arrest report we obtained says in early November, officers got a tip that James was sitting fully camouflaged in his truck on private property. An officer went to the scene and found an unoccupied white Ford F150 parked at a gate, which the officer learned was James’ vehicle.

 

Later in the month, wildlife officers got permission from the homeowner to access the property where James had been parked — property that was officially off limits to hunters.

In late December, the wildlife officer got another tip that James’ truck was parked in the same location. The officer once again found the truck unoccupied, and, with permission from the property owner already granted, the officer went looking for suspects.

 

The officer’s report says

 

I located a tree stand overlooking an area baited with whole, shelled corn and a grain/corn mixture. Upon closer inspection, I also located a trail camera mounted to a tree, pointing directly at the corn and corn/grain substance.

The property’s owner said none of that belonged to him, and asked officers to remove it.

 

That trail camera turned up more evidence, the report says, with close to 900 images on it. The first 18 images showed what the officer identified as images of James inside his business.

 

The next few images showed James “dressed fully in camouflage,” “in front of the camera, bent over, placing what appears to be an empty bag of ‘Buck Bourbon, Barrel Proof, Highly Attractive Supplemental Feed’ into a backpack,” according to the arrest report.

 

The rest of the hundreds of images contained images of wildlife and the baited area, the officer said.

 

On New Year’s Day, the wildlife officers returned to the property, and discovered a second camera, the same make and model as the first one.

 

The first images on that camera once again showed James at his business, and subsequent images showed him “dressed in camouflage, carrying a climbing type tree stand, and a firearm,” and the report notes that James was “not wearing the required 500 square inches of fluorescent orange.”

 

Officers later arrested James charged him with hunting without permission, violation of proclamations or rules and regulations and not wearing daylight fluorescent orange while hunting big game.

 

The report says James was arrested on a $1,500 bond.

 

We have reached out to the City of Etowah for comment on this story, and we’ll share their response if and when we hear back.