ME: illegal hunting increases
Maine night hunting increases
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) Maine game wardens say they are seeing an
increase in deer poaching, including night hunting, in a trend that has
been noticed in other states as well.
The Maine Warden Service said it's received more than 80 complaints
about night hunting this year. It comes at time when there are fewer
deer to legally shoot because the state has cut the number of any-deer
permits in an effort to rebuild the herd following last winter's high
Biologists expect 4,000-5,000 fewer harvested deer this year.
Warden Sgt. Kevin Adam said the wet weather may be playing a role in
the poaching activity.
''The deer haven't been moving too good because of the weather. So
(hunters) get frustrated, and they start baiting or they feel they need
that confidence boost,'' Adam said.
Poachers are getting trickier too.
''We're starting to see a move where people are night hunting more
with bow and arrows. So people don't hear shots at night,'' Adam said.
In October, six men in western Maine pleaded guilty to charges that
included night hunting, hunting in a closed season, exceeding the deer
limit, theft of traps and trapping without a license. Their arrests
followed a two-year investigation.
In Vermont, game officials said that state's growing deer population
is luring poachers. Vermont wardens arrested 14 people in three poaching
incidents last month. The hunters used lights to hunt deer at night.
Two South Carolina men hunting in Iowa in the fall of 2007 used
crossbows to shoot deer from their vehicle, then returned at night to
recover the animals' heads. One of the hunters had a history of
poaching, authorities said. The men had to pay $24,000 in damages and
forfeit more than $5,000.
A Montana man violated virtually every hunting law on the state's
books as he killed at least 68 moose, elk, deer, antelope, mountain
goats and black bear. The hunter, a former Texan, lost his hunting and
fishing privileges for life in Montana and 25 other states under an
interstate wildlife compact. He was also fined nearly $53,000 last
December and ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service.
In one of the nation's most egregious cases, two men in Wisconsin
were accused earlier this year of using a high-powered rifle and
spotlight to shoot 600 animals from their vehicle over a year's time.
Charges in what was described as a thrill-killing spree included hunting
deer during closed season and hunting deer at night with a spotlight.
Night hunting in Maine is punishable by three days in jail, a $1,000
fine, loss of hunting privileges for the season and the loss of firearm.
In Vermont, poaching is punishable by 60 days in jail and loss of
fishing and hunting licenses.