Bagged Bobcat Barred From Boarding

Bobcat was hunted legally, but wasn't packaged according to TSA standards and didn't have proper tags.

Feb. 06--A Wyoming man trying to take a 25-pound bobcat carcass from a guided hunt in West Texas back home was stopped by Transportation Security Administration agents and told he couldn't board his plane.

At about 1 p.m. Wednesday the man was trying to fly home when Midland Police Department and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department were called out to Midland International Airport.

Justine Ruff, the deputy director of airports ad Midland International Airport, said TSA stopped the man in the luggage area of the airport because of the way it was packaged.

"It's my understanding that a gentleman came out to the airport with a bobcat wrapped in a plastic bag in his luggage," Ruff said.

Carter Ball, the Midland County game warden, said it was actually a garbage bag stuffed inside a duffel bag carrying the carcass.

Ball said he was called out to the airport when authorities realized the bobcat also did not have a tag to register it with the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

Ball said the bobcat was taken legally, it just wasn't packaged according to TSA standards and didn't have proper tags.

"I helped the guy get the CITES tag on his bobcat because he hadn't actually violated any laws," Ball said. "He was a nice enough guy. I walked up and introduced myself and shook his hand, asked him how he was doing. He said, 'I've been better.'"

Ball said he believes the man was trying to do the right thing but just needed some help doing it.

If the man had crossed a state line, Ball said, then he would have been in some legal trouble. Ball said he's never seen someone try to fly on an airplane with a carcass needing CITES tags.

"It's a day in the life of a game warden, you know," Ball said. "Strange, quirky stuff."

Ruff said the man could be seen waiting for another plane with a large cooler.

Contact Jon Vanderlaan on twitter at @OAcourts, on Facebook at OA Jon Vanderlaan or call 432-333-7763.

Copyright 2014 - Odessa American, Texas

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