Decoy deer draws fire

Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2001

The buck stops here.

At least, that's what some people might have been thinking when they pulled up near the False Island logging camp on Chichagof Island on their all-terrain vehicles and shot the deer they'd seen moving near the brush.

Although deer hunting is a popular outdoor activity in Sitka, with a season that's open six months of the year, there were a few problems with this particular kill.

For starters, it was 11 p.m., well into the hours of darkness, and the shooters had lighted the deer illegally with the headlights of their four-wheelers.

Further, they had shot at the deer from their vehicles, which is against the law, as is shooting from the road. And, although the shooters didn't know it, the deer wasn't real.

The animal in question was a robotic deer operated by Greg Kahler, lead law enforcement officer for the U.S. Forest Service in Yakutat, Sitka, Hoonah, Admiralty Island and Juneau. The fake deer, and others like it, are used by enforcement agencies to catch hunters who break the law.

Kahler said the most common violations the decoy deer incite are acts that would be illegal under either state or federal law: shooting from or across roads; shooting within 150 yards of a structure; and using artificial light to hunt - sometimes called spotlighting or jacklighting.

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