Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS

Alleged deer poacher denies charges

January 13, 2012

By Anthony Fay and Heidi Voight, WWLP.com

Police say Agawam man hunted in park

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Police in West Springfield say they’ve identified a man who’s been illegally hunting deer at Mittineague Park, in part because he posted about it on his Facebook page.

According to a news release sent to 22News by the West Springfield Police Department, Agawam resident Terry Ross, 21 has been charged with violating two town ordinances (for hunting and carrying a weapon inside the park) and attempting to commit a crime (hunting for antlerless deer without a permit.)

The hunter spoke to 22News reporter Heidi Voight exclusively, and claims he's being falsely accused and targeted.

There's a reason why hunting is not allowed anywhere in Mitteneague Park.
“You have families out walking, using the park,” explained Victoria Connor, Director of Parks and Recreation in West Springfield. “It certainly doesn't mix well with having hunters in the same location.”

After numerous witnesses reported sightings of hunters to the Parks and Recreation department, a Park Watch group was formed. Soon after, West Springfield Police began a year-long investigation to snare the poachers.

“We went up there to investigate ourselves,” Police Sergeant Robert Duffy told 22News, “and we did find evidence of deer stands and deer baiting.”

Now West Springfield Police say they’ve pinpointed at least one person
responsible: 21 year old Terry Ross of Agawam. Ross denies all the claims, telling 22News he’s a licensed hunter who follows the rules, and has never hunted in the park.

Police say witnesses saw Ross drag a deer out of the park on October 22nd.

On that same day, he posted a picture of a dead deer on Facebook along with the caption "thought it was a doe." That's why he's facing charges of attempting to kill an antlerless deer without the proper permit. Ross showed the photo to 22News along with antlers he claim match the antlered deer pictured.

“I didn’t shoot a doe,” Ross said. “I wouldn't shoot a doe. I thought when it came in it was a doe, but then I saw the antlers and I said okay, I can shoot that.”

The hunter also said he was near Mitteneague Park when he took that shot, but wasn’t inside the borders. Instead, he explained, the deer ran towards Mitteneague before dying, and that's where he retrieved it. But police say surveillance equipment will prove otherwise.

Since this is an active case, police couldn’t confirm the type or location of the surveillance equipment. Terry Ross will be able to see the evidence against him firsthand when he heads to court.

Ross' stepdad is outraged by these charges, claiming it's a personal vendetta against his family stemming from a dispute he had with city officials. But police say it was concerned citizens who brought this case to light... and that they have nothing against hunters.

“We have hunters on our police department,” said Sergeant Duffy. “They just follow the rules.”

Ross insists he's an ethical hunter, and says he's not removing his Facebook pictures because he has nothing to hide. He'll be arraigned at a later date not yet announced.

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