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NJ: Two men face charges of illegally hunting deer on Rutgers campus, taking meat to Rahway deli

Two men face charges of illegally hunting deer on Rutgers campus, taking meat to Rahway deli

March 11, 2011,

RAHWAY — They sat in a van bearing the name of a Rahway deli as they hunted for deer roaming a remote section of the Rutgers University campus in Piscataway.

Subsequently, the two men took the deer parts to the deli, said state wildlife officials.

The men, Gerard Kirk, 25, of the Colonia section of Woodbridge, and Peter Ward, 45, of Rahway, face charges of illegally hunting the deer and improperly handling parts they brought to the Big Belly Delly in Rahway.

Both men have been charged with hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, failing to have proper hunting permits, and having an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle, said Mark Chicketano, acting chief of enforcement for the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Kirk and Ward are also charged with improperly marking deer parts, and Kirk is charged with improperly tagging 10 antlers, Chicketano said.

Rutgers police also charged the men with having a firearm on university property, and charged Kirk with driving while intoxicated, officials said. The Fish and Wildlife charges are summonses that can be heard in municipal court.

Chicketano said the state began an investigation Jan. 25, after Rutgers police received reports of gunshots on the Livingston campus. Police received information the shots were coming from a white van.

Police and state investigators arrested Kirk and Ward in a deli van on the campus.

The driver was "driving slow, in a manner consistent with deer poaching," Chicketano said.

Investigators also spent about six days on surveillance outside the deli and saw deer parts being brought into the business, Chicketano said.

Undercover state investigators went into the deli and purchased chili and raw ground meat. Investigators also got a search warrant for the business and confiscated 300 pounds of venison, Chicketano said.

However, authorities have not determined if the deer meat that Kirk and Ward allegedly brought into the store was sold to customers.

"The case is still under investigation," said Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, which includes Fish and Wildlife.

A woman at Kirk’s home said late today he was not there. A message left at the deli late today was not returned. Attempts to contact Ward were unsuccessful.

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