If you are one who complains that there are no deer left in Pennsylvania to hunt, or who looks the other way when people kill deer illegally, it is time to pay attention.
Wildlife Conservation Officers Rodney P. Mee and Rob Minnich recently filed charges on two Tioga County residents for a weekend poaching spree in which a total of eight whitetail deer were found shot and left lay to rot.
Two men from Morris Run were out driving around, spotting and shooting deer and then leaving them lay.
Photo for the Mirror by Shirley?Grenoble
WCO Steve Hanczar attaches antlers to a “Robodeer.” This handy decoy has often been used to round up road hunters who spot a deer and shoot from the road.
"Fortunately, witnesses called in descriptions of events and vehicle used," said WCO Mee. "Deer and evidence were found on scene which helped in locating the violators. The last known deer shot was an eight-point buck."
This was the break the WCOs needed, as a passers-by saw Zimmers and Hinman stopped on the road and thought something was suspicious. The passer-by stopped, got good descriptions of the vehicle, license number and suspects, and saw the deer in the field with a fresh bullet hole in it. The witness then called the Game Commission.
"The truck had an out-of-state license, so local law enforcement agencies were made aware that the vehicle was wanted by Game Commission WCOs as a suspect vehicle in the deer shootings," said Minnich. "Again, fate was on our side, as the suspects got the truck stuck the next morning in a local park. The witness was called to identify the vehicle and, when he was there, the suspect walked up to us, thereby providing us with an opportunity to obtain a positive identification."
Talk about dumb, this is a model case.
Poaching has always made me righteously angry. It is theft, pure and simple and I find no justification for it ever. Don't lay the old song on me that someone needs it to feed his or her family. There are plenty of programs designed to help such folks, paid for mostly by our tax dollars.
People who need a deer to feed a family take the deer with them. But what we have heard of so much and is what happened in this case especially, are deer being shot and left to rot.
Using that logic, we ought to be able to pick up a few steaks and a bag of potatoes from our local supermarket, and then get off paying a penalty if we get caught doing it if "I need it feed my family."
It is bucks, usually very nice bucks that are most often poached. The heads are sometimes taken, the rest of the deer left to spoil.
I've heard lots of complaints following this just-past rifle season for deer about how few deer they had seen in the woods during the season.
It's easy to blame the Game Commission's game management program and lots of hunters are doing that with gusto. But if you saw few deer this year and were not one of the few who got their photo taken with a nice buck, why would you shrug your shoulders when you hear of a car full of jacklighters killing several nice bucks in your area?
In fact, Game Protectors are telling us that of late, they have solved many cases of poaching because citizens and sportsmen got involved and provided information needed to stop poachers. That is exactly what is needed - sportsmen need to create the climate in which the illegal killing of deer just for some kind cheap thrill simply will not be tolerated.
I was involved a few years ago in reporting an incident of blatant baiting of deer during the archery season, and what happened in that case in which I was glad to testify is what happens so often.
Wildlife Conservation Officers spend countless hours watching, gathering evidence, going to court and then more likely than not, having some unsympathetic judge dismiss charges against those who take wildlife illegally. Many judges appear to think that wildlife cases are a waste of their valuable time.
This is something that really trips my trigger! I have zero tolerance for those who shoot several turkeys or deer before season. There is no excuse for it.
If you, like me, spend hours hoofing it around the woods, staking out watches for hours on end in rain, wind and cold, only to see very little and often bagging nothing for those efforts, I don't want to hear about someone who shot three bucks before or during the season and then has the gall to brag about it.
So if you didn't bag a deer this year, you might wonder how many of this ilk were in the woods before you, taking what belongs to you.
One weapon in the battle against poaching is an artificial deer-dubbed - Robodeer -- used quite successfully to lure poachers to their rightful fate.
A far cry from the first simple stuffed deer that moved jerkily, today's model looks very real indeed. Its movements even look normal and many a poacher, who spots this nice buck in his spotlight then jumps out of a truck to take a couple shots, is quickly interrupted by wildlife officials posted nearby.