4OYS Investigation: Illegal hunters

Posted at: 11/07/2012 10:41 PM
Updated at: 11/08/2012 10:51 AM
By: Gadi Schwartz, KOB Eyewitness News

Every year in New Mexico,Game and fish officers write scores of tickets to hunters shooting animals from the roadway and often time- from inside their vehicles.

Last year over 70 citations were issued to hunters for shooting from a roadway by conservation officers.

Recently 4 On Your Side tagged along on one "decoy" operation in which officers set up an artificial deer in a clearing near a public road to catch drive by hunter.

In one day, three groups of hunters were stopped after shooting at the fake deer and five men were cited with shooting from a roadway.

In two of the groups that were stopped, young children were along for the hunt and witnessed adults shooting from the road.

Game and Fish Sgt. Jason Kline said seeing kids so young watching that type of hunting is disappointing.

"It's sad man," said Kline. "That kid is about to go through hunters ed and this is what his family is showing him on how to hunt they are already showing him unethical unsafe hunting."

After being written a ticket and having their guns returned all the hunters that were stopped during the decoy operation were allowed to go continue hunting.

Under state law in order for a licensed hunter to kill a deer on public land, they must be either 40 feet from the road or on the inside of a fenced right-of-way.

During the operation, officers witnessed one man get out of his vehicle and appear to prepare to cross the fence. Instead, the man posted his rifle on the barbwire to steady his aim -  and then took a shot at the fake deer.

Game and Fish officers cited him as well,  saying that while it appeared he had made half an effort, he still broke the law. Citations vary from $50 to $500.