Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are using realistic-looking robotic deer to catch poachers hunting illegally or during closed season.
The decoys can take as many as 1,000 shots before they need to be replaced according to officials, and operators are able to control their ear, tail and head movements from up to 50 feet away.
The Miami Herald reports that one man was arrested this weekend after shooting a robotic deer that police had set up as part of an operation targeting road-hunting activity.
"He crossed a ditch and walked up toward the fence carrying a rifle," states an FWC report. "He placed the rifle on the fence to steady himself and shot at the replica."
Officers emerged to arrest the man, identified as Brett Russel Thompson of Myakka City, and took him into custody.
"He said that he knew hunting season was closed and also knew that it was illegal to shoot deer from a roadway," the arrest report stated.
The man was released from jail last Sunday, but only after posting $1,120 US in bonds.
He is scheduled to appear in court next month and faces up to a year in jail for taking deer during closed season, discharging a firearm on a roadway, and taking deer from a right-of-way.
News of Thompson's arrest has been circulating widely online since the Herald published its report, but according to FWC spokesman Gary Morse, the government bureau has been using robotic deer to catch poachers for decades.
"We set up details where we suspect poachers might be harvesting deer illegally," Morse told the Herald. "We wait to catch them in the act."
FWC Officer Jeffrey Babauta cautioned that while the majority of Florida's hunters are "good, ethical hunters," the deer serves as a great tool for the FWC to deter bad hunting practices.
"It does help," he said. "Once word gets out that there is a fake deer out there, it deters the bad hunting."
What are your thoughts on using decoys to ensnare hunters in this manner? Share them below.
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