Monday, October 10, 2011

Hunting for Deer Hunters, Using Bait

You probably saw this article on Wildlife Officials Use Robo-Deer to Catch Poachers. Basically, the wildlife officials in Utah have a mechanical deer that they set beside the road at night. When someone shoots at it, they arrest them. This is old news. Game wardens have been doing this for decades. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I like that they are catching poachers, laws need to be enforced, but it just feels wrong. Technically the person shooting the fake deer has not broken a law, unless there is a law against shooting robot deer.

My first reaction is that this is entrapment. However, after a tiny amount of research I discovered that it is not entrapment by its legal definition. According to Wikipedia entrapment involves the following three things:

1.The idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.

2.Government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving someone the opportunity to commit a crime is not the same as persuading them to commit that crime.

3.The person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before interaction with the government agents.

So technically they are not tricking a person into committing a crime, but if they did not put the robo-deer out in the first place the hapless hunter would not have tried to kill it. Now if they were targeting a poaching ring, or someone purposefully going out to poach, I wouldn't have a problem. In fact, I would give them a awesome award for cleverness! However, they are targeting the average Joe who may have never seen a deer this big or just needs some meat for the freezer. He gets excited and makes a bad decision.

And lets not forget the law itself. Why are we so against hunting deer at night? Let me be clear; I've never hunted deer at night, willfully broken a game law, or poached in any capacity. However, with the deer population problems we are having and with the challenges of night hunting why don't we have a limited, managed night deer season? Safety could be an issue, so there would have to be some clear rules regarding weapon choice. Perhaps the hunter would need to wear a glow in the dark vest or something (hey, its not much crazier than wearing blaze orange!)

Here in Virginia it is illegal to shine a light from a vehicle while you have a firearm in you vehicle. This is to make it easier to prosecute poachers. Is it just me or is this a little crazy? In Virginia you can hunt down deer with dogs, but you can't shine a flashlight out of your trucks window. It seems like some of these laws are more political than practical.

Another aspect of this is road hunting. The article states "If somebody gets caught shooting the deer from the road, it ruins their reputation as a hunter." In some areas, like most of the east, this is true. It is unethical and illegal in most states to hunt from a vehicle, or even X amount of yards from a road. There is a good reason for this. Deer are not afraid of cars. Go down any highway in rural America and you will see this by the carnage on the side of the road. However, in some areas it is perfectly acceptable to spot deer from a vehicle, park, and stalk them. This is how we did it where I grew up in Oregon. I can say that there were times when it was very, very tempting to just shoot out the window. Of course, we didn't, but I can sympathise with someone who was having a bad season and did.

Again, should road hunting be illegal? With the deer population out of control I can see a place for making it legal in a few areas where the deer population is endangering the public. Again, there would have to be limitations and safety precautions.

I may be wrong, probably am. Most disagree with me. Many will demonize me for my viewpoint. I may not be fully informed. It is just the way I see it.

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