Go Fishing, Find Gun and Badge

Gun and badge found at bottom of Castaic Lake

Gun and badge with other items found at bottom of Castaic Lake (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

I love finding goodies in the great outdoors, and this find was pretty cool for a fisherman on Castaic Lake, a man made reservoir in California.

The lake’s water level is now much lower than it was years ago (one estimate says 150 feet lower), and that exposes formerly-submerged stuff. Some of the things found include a typewriter, an outboard motor, a GoPro camera–oh, and a pistol and badge in a backpack that was lost 22 years ago.

Jay Poore reportedly found the backpack when he spotted the top part of it sticking up above the water line. When a gun fell out of the pack, he took notice. When he opened a wallet and saw the badge, he said, “I knew that I better go find the sheriffs and give it to them.”

The BATF agent, who wasn’t identified as he is still active and reportedly working undercover, went fishing on the lake with a friend in 1992. Rather than trust a soft-top Jeep to keep their valuables safe, they stored them in a backpack which they took with them on a boat. When the boat swamped, the backpack sank, apparently along with the BATF agent’s reputation.

The agent reportedly took a lot of ribbing over the years for the story of how he’d lost his gun, and said he was glad the backpack was found to verify his story.

A photo of recovered items provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol, a Department of Treasury Special Agent badge, a pager, a wristwatch, a small 1992 calendar, and a class ring.

This is far from being the only gun BATF had ever lost. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in February 2014 that at least 49 guns have gone missing while under BATF ownership or control in recent years.

A lifelong hunter and shooter, Russ Chastain has made it a point to learn much about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. Having started toting his own gun in the woods at… [Learn More]

I want more stuff like this!

Sign up for the All Outdoor weekly email and never miss our most popular stories.