A Central New York man was recently charged with 11 different offenses under the state’s Environmental Conservation Law and faces fines of up to $11,500 for illegally shooting three bucks with a bow and a crossbow.
Two of the deer were reportedly killed in his backyard over bait.
The case first came to attention of DEC officers after Dean P. Brutcher Jr., 34 of DeWitt, boasted on three Facebook posts about killing two, 8-point bucks during the archery season, according to the DEC. A state hunting license only allows a hunter to take one buck during the archery season.
The town of DeWitt is among those Central New York suburban communities with excessive numbers of deer. The latest counts show the community has about 100 deer per square mile – at least five times the normal eight to 20 per square mile, according to figures from the state College of Environmental Science and Forestry, DeWitt officials said.
An investigation into Brutcher’s Facebook posts was initiated by state Environmental Conservation Officer Don Damrath. As Damrath was attempting to locate Brutcher, the man posted a photo of a third buck taken on his Facebook page, the biggest of the three deer.
The ECO caught up with Brutcher at his home “late in the evening (on Dec. 22) and the man produced three, 8-point racks to go along with a poorly concocted story about how and where he killed the deer.”
According to the DEC, “ECO Damrath determined two of the three deer were killed over bait in the backyard of the man’s house in a nearby suburban neighborhood. One of the bucks was taken with a crossbow during the archery only season, and one of the bucks was never tagged. None of the deer were reported.”
Damrath seized all three sets of antlers.
Brutcher was charged with taking big game in excess of the bag limit; unlawful possession of protected wildlife; failure to report deer take within 7 days (three counts); take/kill deer wrong implement; unlawful deer kill (two counts); hunt over bait (two counts); entice deer to feed (within) 300 feet (of a) highway.
Five of the above offenses are misdemeanors. Brutcher faces an additional misdemeanor charge for signing a false statement, DEC said.
Along with the above charges, Brutcher also faces loss of his hunting privileges.
Meanwhile, DeWitt officials in late October approved a plan to use federal sharpshooters to hunt and kill deer in targeted areas of the community.
The town’s plan was recently approved by the DEC and culling of the herd is expected to start soon at seven undisclosed locations.