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New York Anti-Poaching Initiative Nets 137 Violators

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A major operation to crack down on illegal deer poaching from Montauk to Buffalo has led to charges against 137 individuals for more than 250 offenses, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Wednesday.

The initiative, dubbed, “Operation Dark Night,” focused on the illegal taking of deer by use of artificial light – a practice commonly known as “deer jacking.” This involves nighttime wildlife crimes where poachers shine a spotlight on a deer feeding in fields to “freeze” the animal long enough to shoot it – killing deer when they are most vulnerable. Typically, deer jacking occurs in remote rural areas, late at night. Due to these late hours and secluded areas, there are few, if any, witnesses to this crime.

This fall, DEC undertook the largest coordinated anti-deer jacking initiative in the state’s history. During a seven-week period, ECOs were assigned to saturation patrols in targeted rural locations in every part of the state except New York City, with stakeouts taking place at all hours of the night. While ECOs are vigilant for wildlife poaching crimes throughout the year, these targeted patrols largely covered the weeks before the start of the southern zone deer season, when, historically, DEC fields numerous complaints about deer jacking.

“Our officers’ work sends a strong message that such illegal practices will not be tolerated,” said Peter Fanelli, DEC’s Director of Law Enforcement. “During this operation, they put in long hours at night, often dealing with armed individuals. Their effort speaks of their dedication to the job and to protecting New York’s natural resources.”

“Most hunters play by the rules – but deer jackers don’t,” Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz said. “This illegal practice not only gives them an unfair advantage but also puts many unsuspecting people who may be nearby at risk. DEC takes this crime seriously for many reasons – safety, foremost.”

During the seven-week operation, DEC officers charged 137 individuals with more than 250 misdemeanors and violations. This included 10 instances of killing a deer at night with the use of a spotlight or other artificial light and 79 instances where a hunter was caught using a light but had not yet killed a deer.

Typically, other related charges were filed in these instances, such as carrying a loaded gun in a vehicle, discharging a firearm over a public highway or within 500 feet of a dwelling and using a spotlight within 500 feet of a dwelling.

By region, 124 misdemeanors and violations were filed in the Adirondack Park and surrounding North Country, 48 were filed in the Capital Region and Catskills, 47 in Central New York, 24 in Western New York and 9 on Long Island.

Fifteen guns were confiscated, along with seven spotlights and eight illegally-taken deer.

Many Environmental Conservation Law offenses relating to deer jacking are misdemeanors which may result in significant fines and/or jail time. Additionally, hunting license privileges of convicted deer poachers may be revoked in New York State as well as simultaneously in other states that are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact and honor reciprocal revocations.

Turn in Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) Hotline

DEC encourages anyone with information on environmental crimes and violations are urged to call its 24-hour hotline, 1-800-TIPP-DEC or 1-800-847-7332. Callers may request to file complaints anonymously. An online form also is available at

http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/67751.html

Penalties

“Taking of deer with the aid of an artificial light” is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 to $2,000 and/or incarceration for up to one year, as well as possible revocation of hunting privileges for up to five years.

“Operating an artificial light on lands inhabited by deer while possessing a firearm” is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $200 to $1,000 and/or incarceration for up to 90 days.

Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $250 and/or incarceration of up to 15 days.

Additionally, hunting privileges may be revoked in New York State as well as simultaneously in many other states who are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact.

Contact:
Linda Vera (585) 226-5324

UPDATE (12/17/10) Here is a link to the list of poachers who were convicted: http://www.recordonline.com/assets/pdf/TH13351215.PDF

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How to Shoot a Compound Bow Properly – Ultimate Guide

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Shooting a compound bow might seem as simple as picking up the bow, drawing the string with an arrow, and releasing it. If that’s how you think it works, then you’re dead wrong. It takes a world of knowledge and practice to learn how to properly shoot a compound bow. Luckily for you, we’re going to teach you how to do it with this compound bow shooting tutorial.

Preparing the Bow

Your compound bow should use high-quality strings that aren’t worn or heavily used. Your bow should be in good shape and properly maintained. You should be aware of how much draw pressure your bow can handle. If possible, use a compound bow that you’ve used before and that you’re familiar with, or use a compound bow that an expert archer has provided. Ideally, you should learn how to shoot a compound bow from someone who has a lot of experience shooting such a bow successfully.

Stance

You should face the target at about a 45-degree angle. Your feet should be parallel to one another and about 17-25 inches apart. Your toes should be directly facing the target. If you use such a stance you’ll have a much easier time drawing your bow and you’ll have a better chance of hitting your target dead-on.

Grip

Use a firm but relaxed grip with your bow-holding hand. If your grip is too tight on the bow then you won’t have as much accuracy on your shot. Try using a wrist sling if you are unable to master the art of a firm yet comfortable grip. Don’t be ashamed because the main point is accuracy and whatever you can do to attain the perfect shot is fine. Never, and I repeat NEVER, shoot with an open hand. You don’t ever want to grab the bow with your drawing hand during a shot – this is undoubtedly the worst mistake you can make when shooting a compound bow because it can lead to fatal errors.

Anchor

When you draw the string, you should be locking your string hand against the side of your face. This is what’s known as the “anchor” position. The string and your hand will be on the right side of your face, and vice versa if you are left-handed. You can achieve the highest level of archery accuracy by anchoring the string at the corner of your mouth – or under your chin.

Draw

You should extend your bow arm directly toward your target with the string gripped firmly between your fingers… or by using a mechanical release device, if you prefer. Point the bow at the target and pull the string smoothly and firmly. Extend the bow all the way, pull the string back to its maximum point of a full draw, and resist the urge to move the compound bow forward. Make sure that you use a bow that is suited for you because a bow with a draw that is too heavy will destroy your accuracy.

Aim

If you’re using a bow that is equipped with a sight then aiming will be easier, but it still won’t be perfect. Bow sights are good for average shooters, especially if a laser sight is involved. The key to natural aiming is practice. The best archers usually aim slightly above the target (depending on wind conditions) so they can aim while still looking directly at the target.

Release

Your release can determine whether or not your shot hits the mark. You need a smooth release, and you need to relax all of your fingers completely before you release the string for the shot. Even the slightest amount of finger tension can disrupt your aim. If you have a mechanical release aid the shot will be easier because all you have to do is draw, aim, and pull the release trigger for the compound bow. This type of mechanism can fail you, however… if you slap the trigger then the arrow will go astray.

Follow-Through

Just as in golf, the follow-through is extremely important in archery. Why? The arrow has already been released, right? You need to keep aiming until your arrow hits the target. The follow-through is largely a mental thing. You need to see your arrow hitting the target while you are steadily holding your bow. Never lower your bow after the arrow has been released. Stay in formation and hold your position until the arrow hits the target.

Practice

If you want to become an expert at shooting a compound bow then you need to practice. The saying “practice makes perfect” isn’t really true. You need to invoke the saying of “perfect practice makes perfect” because practicing something the wrong way will get you nowhere. When your target of choice is out of season then you shouldn’t lay back and watch TV until it’s time to hunt again. Set up targets and keep a compound bow in your hands as much as you can.

Conclusion

After reading this article there’s no excuse for becoming an expert compound bow shooter. From choosing the right equipment to shooting correctly there is an equation to correctly shooting a compound bow. Do you have any tips on shooting a compound bow? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the Comments section below.

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NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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New changes are heading our way for the 2015 deer season in New York. For those of us hunting in Westchester County and a few other WMUs that have historically had an overpopulation of deer we now have a newly created 2-week long antlerless-only season – the only problem is that it’s the first 2-weeks of bow season.

For some, that’s not an issue, but to others, it just crushed their chances of killing that buck they’ve been patterning since the season ended in 2014. Why? Because those first 2-weeks also happen to be the last few days you can catch a buck on its summer pattern.

The DEC says that management goals are not being met in these WMUs which is why we need the antlerless-only season. Well, I can tell you changing the first two weeks to antlerless-only is going to have a minimal impact, if any, on the antlerless harvest. The guys that want to shoot bucks will be spending their time in NJ or CT and the rest of us, well, we kill does all season long so it’s business as usual for us.

If the DEC really wanted to increase the antlerless harvest we could have looked to our neighbors over in CT and simply extended the hunting season for another month by starting in September, extending into January or both.

We also are still a 2-buck state (1 Regular Season buck tag, 1 Either Sex archery tag). If we dropped one of the tags, like most of the ‘big-buck’ states, and became a 1-buck state I think you’d also see the antlerless harvest go up…not to mention we’d probably have a few more decent bucks running around.

Time will tell how these new regulations end up working, but I think we already know, this isn’t going to work.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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First meeting of 2014 for the WCBA

The Westchester County Bowhunters Association will hold its winter meeting on January 21,2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Teatown Lake Reservation Ossining, NY.

One of the hot topics for discussion I’m sure will be the plans that Teatown has for using sharpshooters to cull 75 deer from the reservation property. Why Teatown isn’t using a free resource like Westchester County’s own bowhunters and is choosing to use taxpayer money to hire sharp shooters is beyond me. Hopefully, we get some answers on this Tuesday night.

About the WCBA: Since 1979, the Westchester County Bowhunters Association has worked at expanding the knowledge of local non-hunters in order that they understand the importance of sound wildlife conservation, and by that we mean effectively controlling Westchester County’s deer populations through Bow hunting.

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