Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers gave out 10 citations and four warnings over a three-hour enforcement operation using an Artificially Simulated Animal (ASA).
On October 19, in Unit 56 south of Sublett, officer’s set-up a doe mule deer ASA near a major road. The goal of the project was to address concerns from the public regarding adults harvesting antlerless deer in the area, an opportunity afforded only to youth hunters.
The first day, the ASA was shot at a total of 19 times by four adults, and two youth hunters. This included an adult shooting from an ATV loaded in the back of a truck.
“He was using it like some sort of mobile tree-stand,” said Ryan Hilton, district conservation officer.
The following day, officers set the doe up again in the same area. One adult and two youth hunters shot at the deer an additional 12 times. All shots were fired from the road, a violation of Idaho law.
A total of 10 citations were given to five adult hunters, which included shooting from a road and hunting without proper tag. Four youth were also given warning for shooting from the road.
“Shooting from a public roadway is an incredibly dangerous thing,” said Doug Meyer, senior conservation officer. “People drive on the roadways, and when someone is honed in on a deer in their scope, they may not see the people in front or beyond their target.”
“It is also not a very good example of fair chase, and demonstrates poor ethics on the part of these hunters,” said Meyer.
“The use of an ASA is a valuable tool for Idaho Fish and Game because they allow us to address management issues that we otherwise could not get at,” Hilton said. “Our ability to maintain a general season, with over-the-counter tags in Unit 56 is dependent on compliance with regulations.”
Five adults were sentenced in Cassia County court on November 4. A plea agreement was reached with all five adult hunters that were issued citations. Each violator agreed to plead guilty to shooting from a public roadway and pay $160 in court costs and fines for that charge.
As part of the same agreement, each violator agreed to pay $480 in ASA restitution to Idaho Fish and Game. If all fees are paid to the court within the agreed upon time, the second charge of hunting without the proper tag, will be dismissed.
Logo courtesy Idaho Department of Fish and Game