Hunters asked by State Police to look for marijuana plants

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - State Police are asking hunters to keep their eyes peeled for the marijuana plants. 

This is something new for State Police. It gives them more eyes to look for marijuana grow sites. They want hunters to look for anything suspicious while out in the woods. One hunter says he's already out there so why not.

I caught up with Steve Florian at the Hunt ‘N' Shak as he geared up for his next outing. He's an experienced hunter of deer not pot plants. But says he'll give it a shot. In fact, even though he's seen pictures of marijuana, Florian says he still may not be able to pick it out if he came across it during his weekend hunting trips.

"Not really necessarily looking for plants. Our mind is focused on what's happening in the woods," said Florian.

But state police say they need hunters to be on alert, since growing marijuana is a year-round operation. This summer, they destroyed more than 35,000 pot plants found at illegal grow sites across the state. Florian says it'll fill up the down time.

"You're not hunting all the time. You're mainly walking around, scouting, looking at different things, and checking the property," said Florian.

Random, well-trampled trails may be a clue along with a hidden clearing in the woods near water. Other tell tale signs: buckets used to haul water, shovels, discarded chemicals and bags of fertilizer.

Florian hunts on private land. But knows it can be easy for criminals to take advantage of such property.

"It's serious. I wouldn't want to be out there and somebody thinking it was mine. It's serious, I'll keep my eye out," said Florian.

Hunters can call, anonymously, the Virginia State Police Drug Diversion Unit at 800-553-DOPE or 5673. There could be a cash reward.

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