Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Not disclosed - man shooting a buck walking up to an illuminated feeder

Marinette County

September 27, 1998  
Not disclosed - man shot an arrow at a deer feeding at an illuminated bait pile

Oconto County

October 7, 1998  
Not disclosed - man shot a deer with an arrow feeding at an illuminated bait pile

Oconto County

October 26, 1998  
Not disclosed - man shooting 2 deer and a trophy buck from an illuminated bait pile

Haward, WI

Sawyer County

October 29, 1998  
Not disclosed - man shot a deer eating from a lighted feeding station

Glidden, WI

Ashland County

November 1, 1998  
Not disclosed - 2 men killed an 8-point buck at a lighted bait pile

Villas County

November 5, 1998  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
  poaching 2 deer, 1 trophy buck Alleged  

A Hayward man is being referred to the Sawyer County district attorney for shooting deer from his house at night. The action resulted from an investigation by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation wardens.

The man may be charged with hunting deer with an artificial light, hunting deer during a closed season, and possession of an untagged deer. DNR wardens confiscated two sets of antlers along with the head, hide and meat of one of the animals from the individual involved. (The man's name cannot be released until formal charges are filed).

"We are seeing more and more of this type of activity where deer are allegedly shot at night from either permanent or seasonal cabins and homes while the animals are feeding nearby," said Dave Zeug, Northern Region conservation warden supervisor.

"The tragedy," he said, "is that both of these deer that could have gone to licensed, law-abiding hunters have now been taken from the herd."

One of the two bucks had 12 points with a wide beam and, according to the conservation wardens, is a trophy-sized deer. The other deer had 10 points and was also a large animal.

Hayward area warden Sue Miller, who led the investigation, said trophy bucks are nocturnal and vulnerable to this type of activity. The increased popularity of baiting deer for hunting appears to coincide with the rising trend in shooting from cabins.

This time of year is when rural residents and motorists will also see increased activity by people shining deer. Shining generates a number of complaints to DNR and legislative offices each year.

Shining is the practice of viewing animals at night and from vehicles, with the help of high-powered spotlights. The practice is legal in most areas, according to State Rep. DuWayne Johnsrud (R-Eastman), chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. But a person may not possess a bow or firearm while shining.

In addition, it is illegal to shine wild animals between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. from Sept. 15 through Dec. 31.

White-tailed deer are more active during the fall, especially during the rut in November, and are more visible in open fields at night. That makes shining with spotlights particularly enjoyable for people who like to assess the number of deer where they hunt.

According to Johnsrud, however, a problem arises when some people are not considerate of farms, homes and other traffic.

"I get complaints every year, as do folks in the DNR," he said.    "They are usually generated by careless people who flash a spotlight with enormous candlepower over somebody's home or feedlot or who drive inattentively."

Johnsrud said some counties, such as Buffalo and Trempealeau, have enacted shining ordinances that are more restrictive than state laws.

"Buffalo County banned the practice entirely, and the question of banning it statewide has been asked of legislators and Wisconsin's Conservation Congress," Johnsrud said.   "The bottom line is that if you intend to go shining this fall, and especially the week prior to the deer season, you need to be considerate of others and avoid creating complaints if you wish to continue shining in future years."

Anyone who knows of people involved in illegally shooting deer with the aid of lights, or from cabins, is urged to contact their nearest DNR conservation warden.

Update 11/22/98:  The recent arrest of a Hayward man for allegedly shooting two deer, including a trophy buck, while the deer fed from an illuminated bait pile near the man's home reflects a disturbing statewide trend, Wisconsin conservation wardens say.

"We are seeing more and more of this type of activity, where deer are allegedly shot at night from either permanent or seasonal cabins and homes while the animals are feeding nearby," said Dave Zeug, the Department of Natural Resources conservation warden superviser for 18 northern counties. "The tragedy is that both of these deer that could have gone to licensed, law-abiding hunters have now been taken from the herd."

Under Wisconsin law, people can legally feed deer behind their homes, but it's illegal to shoot deer with the aid of a spotlight or other artificial light, including laser sights for firearms and bows.

The Hayward man has been referred to the Sawyer County District Attorney for prosecution for violations including hunting deer with an artificial light, hunting deer during the closed season, and possessing an untagged deer.

Conservation wardens, after an investigation led by Hayward area warden Sue Miller, arrested the man Oct. 29 and confiscated two sets of antlers -- including one from a 12-point buck -- and the head, hide and meat of one of the animals.

The number of citations issued for illegal hunting with the aid of an artificial light has increased by 118% since 1994, climbing from 50 in that year to 109 last fall.

The DNR does not break those figures down to show how many people were shooting from inside their cabins at the time, but wardens across the state, particularly in the northern counties, report that they are working more cases and receiving more tips from citizens about such poaching.

Other examples: -- On Nov. 5, Conservation Warden Duane Harpster and Special Warden Dan Cardinal arrested two men in Vilas County as the men dragged an 8-point buck back to their trailer home from a lighted bait pile near the home.

-- On Nov. 1, Conservation Warden Greg Langrehr of Park Falls arrested a poacher who shot a deer eating from a lighted feeding station behind the man's home near Glidden. The poacher used a large-caliber rifle to shoot the deer and then stuck it with an arrow after it was down and registered the carcass as a bow kill.

-- On Oct. 7, Conservation Warden Pete Dunn arrested an Oconto County man who shot an arrow at a deer feeding at an illuminated bait pile near the man's house trailer.

-- On Oct. 27, Dunn, following a citizen's tip, arrested an Oconto County man who confessed to shooting a deer with an arrow the night before. The deer was feeding at an illuminated bait pile outside the man's dwelling.

-- On Sept. 27, Warden Dave Zebro arrested a Marinette County man who Zebro saw shoot at a buck walking up to an illuminated feeder 25 yards from the man's trailer.

-- On Aug. 5, the third of three Kenosha men that Conservation Warden Bruce Nimz arrested last fall on charges relating to a cabin shooting incident in Vilas County pleaded no contest. The man and his friends were fined a total of $8,264 and together have had all hunting, trapping and fishing licenses revoked for a total of 10 years.

"Absolutely, the phenomenon of cabin shooting is increasing," said Mike Rindfleisch, a 24-year veteran of the warden force who supervises wardens assigned to Price, Rusk, Sawyer and Taylor counties. "It has largely supplanted the old violating method of spotlighting from a vehicle and shooting deer, because it is more difficult to get caught.

"Cabin shooters don't display or advertise themselves like vehicle shooters do, and no one questions the presence of guns or bows in a cabin or house."

Bob Goerlinger, a DNR warden who supervises wardens assigned to Oconto, Marinette and Shawano counties, agreed.

"With bait nearby, the deer feeding patterns seem to be shifting. They are becoming more nocturnal to take advantage of this stable, desirable food source," Goerlinger said. "This means there may be less legal opportunity to shoot at deer, making the lazier, illegal night hunt more attractive."

Goerlinger said wardens were increasing their efforts to catch cabin shooters. Citizen tips are a critical part in catching such poachers. In many cases, wardens learn of poachers from citizens calling in to the DNR hotline, 1-800-TIP-WDNR (1-800-847-9367). All contacts to the 24-hour hotline are confidential.

Reference:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel