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Cracking down on WNY deer poachers

Posted at 6:49 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 18:56:08-04

New York State Environmental Conservation Police are asking the public to report all instances of illegal deer hunting and poachers.

The regular deer hunting season does not start until November 19th, but viewers from places like Derby report finding dead deer with heads and antlers cut off.

"Most of the poachers are head hunting.  They are looking for the very large antlers," said Lt. Jim Schultz from the Environmental Conservation Police.

Fines for poaching can range from $250 to $2,000 plus additional fines for improper use of a firearm.  The problem has become so troublesome, that NYS Senator Patrick Gallivan co-sponsored a bill in the NYS Legislature that would increase penalties, crack down on repeat offenders and take away hunting privileges for five years.

"It gets in the way of responsible deer management and it gets in the way of responsible sportsmen and woman," said Senator Gallivan.

Under the proposed legislation, the minimum fine would increase to $500 and the maximum would go to $3,000.

The measure has passed in the NYS Assembly and Gallivan is hoping it will pass in the NYS Senate during the next session.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly sent the day talking to officials about the problem.