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NY: Major Crackdown on Deer Poaching Nets More Than 100 Individuals

December 12, 2009

Major Crackdown on Deer Poaching Nets More Than 100 Individuals

"Operation Jackhammer" Targets Violators in Hudson Valley, Catskills, Capital Region and Adirondacks

by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

ALBANY, NY (12/08/2009)(readMedia)-- A major initiative to crack down on illegal deer hunting from the Hudson Valley to the Canadian border has led to charges against 107 individuals for more than 250 offenses, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.

The investigation, dubbed "Operation Jackhammer," focused on the illegal taking of deer by use of artificial light a practice commonly known as "deer jacking." This involves night hunting where poachers shine a spotlight on a deer feeding in fields to "freeze" the animal long enough to shoot it -- killing deer when they are most vulnerable. Typically, deer jacking occurs in remote rural areas, late at night. Due to these late hours and secluded areas, there are few, if any, witnesses to this crime.

...

What we found was surprising. Deer jacking occurs more frequently than the public may suspect. I'm proud of the success of our officers who put in long hours at night, dealing with armed individuals and often without backup help. Their work sends a strong message that poaching will not be tolerated."

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"Deer jacking involves someone firing off a high-powered rifle in the dark, not knowing what or who is behind their target. Sometimes, it involves shooting across roads. But also, poachers typically trespass across private lands, violate hunting ethics and rob legitimate hunters of opportunities."

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During the six-week operation, DEC officers charged 107 individuals with 187 misdemeanors and 87 violations. This included 27 instances of hunters killing deer at night while using a spotlight or other artificial light and 48 instances where a hunter was caught using a light but had yet to kill a deer. Typically, other related charges were filed in these instances, such as carrying a loaded gun in a vehicle, hunting after hours and firing a gun within 500 feet of a house.

By region, 102 misdemeanors and 37 violations were filed in the Adirondack Park and surrounding North Country. In the Capital Region and northern Catskills, there were 71 misdemeanors and 46 violations. In the southern Catksills and Lower and Mid-Hudson Valley, there were 14 misdemeanors and four violations.

Approximately 40 guns were confiscated and 42 illegally-taken deer recovered.

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