Illegal hunting in the five boroughs of New York City had never been a problem before, but more deer can lead to more poaching.
A bowhunter from Staten Island has been cited in what many believe is the first poaching case in New York City’s history. David G. Oakes was caught setting bait in Schmul Park, a small Staten Island green space, and is believed to have killed deer in the same spot prior to being busted.
In fact, illegally hunting within the five boroughs of NYC has become such a problem that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has devoted a three-member team to searching for and dealing with poachers in the Big Apple.
According to reports, residents have reported upwards of two dozen deer carcasses found, many with their antlers or heads taken off. There are even indications that someone used a shotgun within city limits to kill a deer, though most likely use bows or crossbows (on account of the noise).
The DEC has permitted bowhunting in Suffolk and Westchester counties, but none of the five boroughs of New York City have any sort of open hunting season.
Oakes faces multiple illegal hunting-related offenses, some of which are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail. According to SILive.com, sources said the officers who helped bring Oakes to justice had been working for a year to catch him in the act, and had help from local sportsmen and gun clubs.
“Sportsmen, hunters and fishermen, they don’t like poachers, they hate them. Because they bring a bad name to their sport,” one source said. “They’re breaking all the rules. They’re committing all sorts of safety atrocities to do this. When you’re poaching behind a playground, you’re not really taking public safety into consideration.”
Apparently not only was Oakes setting up to hunt over bait piles, but he had no hunting license.