Don’t doubt this snout: New K-9 officer joins rangers ahead of deer hunt

ST. GEORGE — Game wardens will have another nose to help sniff out hunting violations as deer season begins Saturday.

Division of Wildlife Resources Officer Joshua Carver poses with newly inducted K-9 Officer Cody in Southern Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

Cody, a young yellow Labrador retriever, joined the Southern Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resource rangers as a K-9 officer after graduating from the police academy in September.

“His job is, right now, to find wildlife – dead or alive,” DWR Officer Joshua Carver said.

Carver is Cody’s handler, and the two have been training together in Iron and Washington counties since the division acquired the eager pup.

“His very first day out of the academy, I took him to go check some fishermen,” Carver said, “and right away he pulls me to this bucket this guy was sitting on, and it was an upside down bucket, so it wasn’t holding water, and I said, ‘Hey, do you have fish under there?’”

The fisherman acknowledged the foregone conclusion of Cody’s acute sense of smell and admitted to fishing without a license.

Since that first day a month ago, Cody has already helped wildlife officials track down numerous poachers.

“This is the time of year where we’re preparing for the deer hunt,” Carver said.

Cody has been training every day for close to two weeks in preparation for deer season. He will likely be stationed at checkpoints sniffing out potential violations in Southern Utah this weekend.

Division of Wildlife Resources K-9 Officer Cody helps Officer Joshua Carver sniff out evidence, St. George, Utah, Oct. 20, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

“One of the things we use him for is vehicle searches,” Carver said. “Another one would be where guys are shooting multiple deer, leaving one to waste, and then maybe taking the deer that they want.

“This is stuff we’re anticipating using him on. Already, we’re using him in multiple deer cases prior to the hunt.”

In addition to deer and fish, Cody can track bears, bobcats and mountain lions. He’s trained to sniff out pelts that are in hunters’ possession suspected of overhunting predator animals.

In his next phase of training, he will learn to track fugitives or assist in search-and-rescue operations.

“He’s not certified in that yet,” Carver said, “but we’re hoping to get him certified in that probably by the end of April. Whatever agency needs assistance – if they need us to help track down somebody – I fully anticipate using Cody in that kind of situation.”

Though he will likely help officers track down criminals someday, Cody is not trained in corrections behavior.

Division of Wildlife Resources K-9 Officer Cody snuggles with a girl, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy Joshua Carver, St. George News

“He won’t be a bite dog – he’s not a patrol dog,” Carver said “He’s never showed any aggression towards anyone. We won’t send him in to bite because he’d probably lick them to death.”

Cody was chosen for his line of duty in part because of his friendly, social demeanor. He also comes from an established lineage of master hunting dogs, making his job come naturally.

“He’s got an instinct to hunt, but for him, this whole thing we do is about play,” Carver said. “The only way you can get this guy to work if is he thinks it’s going to be fun in the end.”

Since he isn’t asked to do a lot more than follow his wolf-born instincts as a hunter, Cody eagerly performs all of his assigned tasks.

“Cody doesn’t have to be convinced to work,” Carver said. “He’d put in overtime all day every day if he could.”

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • aaron October 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

    The Dnr, dept should not even exist we already have, the Blm which shouldn’t even exist within are constitution now we have. another alphabet soup agency controlling people the Person to thank for this bowl of crap is. Mike Noel the sheriff out of Kane county. I don’t know what it is with Mormons and the. Love for some sort of controlling authority but I am so sick of it.

    • DRT October 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Your complete and total confusion is really hard to see. Perhaps you need to do a little research before you post?
      What are you smoking?

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