By JEFFREY S. HAMPTON , The Virginian-Pilot
© April 6, 2004
Last updated: 9:35 PM
BODIE ISLAND - Two Manteo men were charged with shooting
deer illegally near the Bodie Island Lighthouse and could face federal
William Mathews II , 18, and John T. Payne III, 18, both
of Manteo, were charged with night deer hunting and taking a deer with the
aid of a motor vehicle, said North Carolina Wildlife Enforcement Officer
On March 26, two deer were found shot dead not far from
the Bodie Island Lighthouse, Hampton said. Windows in a restroom building
also had been shot.
Investigators found shell casings of .22-caliber bullets
nearby, he said.
On Friday, Hampton and Wildlife Officer Chris Holmes
staked out the area about 9 p.m. Hampton hid in the woods near where the
officers had placed a "dummy deer," a decoy of hard foam covered
in deer skin.
Holmes waited in the patrol vehicle further away.
According to Hampton's account, Holmes heard a shot fired
near N.C. 12, but the officers waited.
Soon, a Honda Accord entered the area around the
lighthouse. A full moon made visibility good.
The driver held a spotlight, and a passenger was sitting
on the door window,
leaning outside the car with a rifle in hand. The
passenger shot the decoy deer two times before realizing what it was.
Hampton heard the shooter tell the driver to accelerate
and get out of there.
But Holmes met the car with his patrol vehicle, and
Hampton emerged on foot with his own spotlight fixed on the suspects.
Mathews and Payne could face federal charges related to
the damage to the building and killing deer on federal property, illegally
possessing a firearm on federal property, and shining an artificial light on
wildlife, said Paul Stevens, law enforcement specialist for the Outer Banks
Group of the National Park Service.
A juvenile in the back seat of the car was not charged. No
alcohol or drugs were involved, Hampton said. Officers confiscated the car,
the rifle and a box of 500 .22-caliber bullets, he said.
The state charges bring a minimum fine of $250, and the
men will lose their hunting licenses for two years, he said. The car, rifle
and bullets could be taken permanently.
Reach Jeffrey Hampton at (252) 338-0159 or
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