Decoy Deer Helps Catch Illegal Hunters in Albemarle County

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November 10, 2009

General firearm hunting hunting season starts on Saturday, November 14th and the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office wants to crack down on illegal hunting. They're using a special deer decoy to catch hunters breaking the law.

If you're walking or even driving by, the decoy can look like a real 10 point buck. It fools the most experienced hunters.

"I had occasions where hunters have pulled up at one, two in the morning and shot our robo deer with bows and arrows, and they've actually gone back into the vehicle, and because the deer didn't run away, they retrieved another arrow to make another shot," says Larry Martin with the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office.

The decoy catches people spotlighting, roadside hunting, and participating in many other illegal hunting practices.

"We want to do this as a deterrent. We want to show that we are going to be deploying this automated deer, and we'd like to deter you if you're thinking about shooting at night," says Chip Harding, the Albemarle County Sheriff.

Why do people hunt illegally? Officials say saving money, and a range of other reasons are to blame.

"I think a lot has to do with the thrill of nighttime shooting. They're able to go back and brag the next day," says Sheriff Harding.

Now that you know about the decoy, don't think you'll be able to spot him again. Sheriff Harding says his staff often changes the decoy's appearance to throw hunters off.

So the next time you go hunting, make sure you're hunting legally, which means during the day and not off the side of a road.

If you suspect nighttime hunting on your property, Sheriff Harding encourages you to call his office. A deputy will come over and do a security assessment to see if it's appropriate to set up a decoy deer on your property.

For information on safe and legal hunting practices, check out the ilnk below.

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