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Deer Decoys Snag Hunting Violators

RAPID CITY, S.D. - The deer was fake but the citations were real.

Conservation officers in the Black Hills National Forest of southwest South Dakota and northeast Wyoming issued about 30 citations last weekend to hunters who stopped on roads to shoot at deer replicas placed nearby, according to Bruce Nachtigall, regional law enforcement specialist for the Game, Fish & Parks Department.

Shooting at big game from roads is illegal.

Nachtigall said road hunting for deer is a problem every year, but Saturday morning was especially bad.

Twenty vehicles passed a decoy at one spot. Fifteen of them stopped and at least one hunter shot from eight of those vehicles.

"Some shot once, others more than once. One individual fired five times. Essentially he emptied his gun," Nachtigall said.

"Saturday morning was probably the worst example of hunting violations I've been around. Just to have that many people stop and shoot, that was pretty bad."

Most of the violations were for shooting from the road, or from a vehicle.

Officers set up the decoys in the central Black Hills Saturday and in the Northern Hills Sunday for the opening of the buck-only season.

They picked areas where hunters have in the past shot at deer from roads, or where landowners have complained about such practices.

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