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Poaching sting nabs 7 Georgia men
Charges involve illegal bear hunting in state
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After executing warrants in a multistate bear poaching sting, authorities had arrested seven Georgians by Friday.

Brent Thomas, 39, of Cleveland faces more than 100 poaching charges in seven counties, including unlawful use of bear bait, possession of illegally taken wildlife, littering, possession of a firearm on a closed wildlife management area, hunting from a motor vehicle and hunting deer at night.

Col. Eddie Henderson, law enforcement chief for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Commission, on Tuesday had described Thomas as being a “true hard-core poacher.” He may face federal charges.

Nicknamed “Operation Something Bruin,” the four-year investigation was carried out by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

In addition to Thomas, several others face similar charges.

Cindy Clanton, Hoschton, 43, was charged with five offenses including hunting deer at night and hunting in a closed wildlife management area.

George Stone, 43, Crawfordville, was charged with possession of whitetail deer without game holding permit.

Rondal Westmoreland, Cleveland, 65, was charged with hunting while license revoked, hunting black bear with the use and aid of dogs and hunting with an illegal weapon.

Cale Stancil, Rabun Gap, 40, charged with unlawful use of bear bait, hunting big game over bait, possession of illegally taken wildlife and hunting bear with dogs during closed season.

Walter Stancil, 65, also from Rabun Gap, was charged with unlawful use of bear bait, possession of illegally taken wildlife, hunting big game over bait, hunting without permission and hunting bear with dogs during closed season.

And a third Rabun Gap resident, 61-year-old Jerry Parker, was charged with hunting big game over bait, hunting bear with dogs during closed season and littering.

A North Carolina man, Jack Billingsley, 69, was charged with violations in Rabun County for hunting bear with dogs during closed season.

Most of the Georgia hunting violations took place in Rabun, Lumpkin and White counties.

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