January 31, 2006 12:50 am
By JODI BIZAR
Residents living along Brooke Road have had it with deer hunters
firing at night and from their vehicles or using spotlights.
Hunting at night or using lights to hunt deer is against the law,
state officials say.
Capt. Dabney Watts with the local office of the Virginia Department
of Game and Inland Fisheries said the precise figures on illegal hunting
were not available, but there didn't seem to be an increase this past
season, which ended earlier this month.
"It happens in every part of the state," he said. "Some people just
have a general disregard for the rules."
He said the unfortunate part of the situation is that the vast
majority of hunters obey the law, but those who don't give the sport a
He said hunting at night or from a vehicle is dangerous, and that's
why it's illegal.
Furthermore, he said, "You've got an unfair advantage when you do it
that way, and there's a possibility that something could happen."
But hunters living in the Brooke area say some might be inclined to
violate the law because it's easier to get the big deer at night,
especially if you're using a vehicle and lights.
They say they call the Stafford County Sheriff's Office and the game
warden, but the violators usually get away.
Watts admits it's often hard to catch violators, but they do get
caught. And when they do, they are subject to fines, jail time and a
loss of hunting privileges, and can even have their weapons seized.
Hunting violations are crimes ranging from Class 2 to Class 4
misdemeanors, Watts said.
He encouraged residents to report such violations, saying that if an
incident happens after 5 p.m. people should call 800/237-5712.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries investigates
such incidents, and also tries to catch people by putting up fake deer
in areas where they get reports. State employees stake out the areas to
see if hunters show up at night. They have been able to catch people in
Deer-hunting season ran from the third week in November through Jan.
7 in this area.
State officials say more 200,000 licenses are issued each year, and
the deer population appears to be healthy.
Hunting is permitted on private property with the owner's OK and on
certain public hunting lands.
To reach JODI BIZAR: 540/374-5000, ext. 5627
Copyright 2006 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.