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Idaho Road Hunters and Others are Falling for Game Decoys

Fish and game decoys are snaring illegal road hunters in Idaho and elsewhere.

In recent years, game decoys have been deployed to bust poachers and illegal road hunters in Idaho and in many other states. Due to the laziness, ignorance or outright disregard for the law of the deplorables among the hunting community, this keeps working.

Idaho Fish and Game Snares Poachers with Plywood Decoy

Byp/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0
Byp/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Near Ketchum, Idaho, according to Boise NBC affiliate KTVB, officials from Idaho Fish and Game are snaring a steady stream of illegal road hunters with a plywood elk game decoy set.

It may not be the most cunning plan, but it works. The decoys have a plywood frame but are textured and painted well enough to look like a cow elk and a calf. The impatient observer might not take an extra second to look. Anyone who shoots from their car or hops out onto the road to shoot immediately meets the three game wardens hidden in blinds on the other side of the road and gets fined.

It sounds almost like entrapment, but the road KTVB reported on is a boundary between two game units, one of which is open to a controlled antlerless elk hunt. The decoy is placed on the opposite side of the road.

They don’t go looking to trap people; Idaho F&G only sets up decoys in known illegal road-hunting hotspots. Often they only set up the decoys after reports of road hunters in the area.

Idaho is Not the Only State Using Decoys to Catch Poachers

Idaho is not alone in resorting to decoys to catch poachers, as robotic deer are employed nationwide, according to a report from Feb 2016 in the Washington Post. Reports of robotic deer and other animals not only being deployed, but being deployed successfully, have been emerging for years.

Many robot deer decoys are supplied by the aptly-named Custom Robotic Wildlife of Wisconsin. The company uses hides from taxidermists to complete the appearance. While many departments may lack the resources to afford the price tag of $2,000 or more, many departments estimate returns of $30,000 in fines levied against poachers as a result of the decoys.

Road hunting and other illegal hunting methods are major problems nationwide, and many officials speculate that roughly an equal number of game animals are harvested illegally as legally. Game decoys and other innovative tactics help make a dent.


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Idaho Road Hunters and Others are Falling for Game Decoys