Four local men may have to pay fines after they kidnapped two fawns and posted pictures to the internet using the social photo sharing app Instagram, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The DEC said that on October 31 an anonymous complainant gave two photos to environmental conservation officers [ECOs] that showed young men posing with a live yearling whitetail deer, while an 18-year-old Calverton man held the deer.
Officers recognized the man and three friends at a Calverton business on November 1 and questioned them, the DEC said. After showing the man their evidence, he admitted to capturing two deer, one of them that he found along Grumman Boulevard in Calverton, authorities said. A 19-year-old from Jamesport and 20-year-olds from Riverhead and Wading River were implicated in helping to capture the second fawn. “The ECOs determined that the subjects had captured the deer out of thrill, using a vehicle to chase down and capture at least one of the deer alongside a fence on Hulse Landing Road,” the DEC stated.
“The pursuit and capture of native wildlife is not tolerated in New York State,” DEC Regional Director Peter A. Scully said. “Although these young men may have thought their actions were harmless and trivial, serious consequences can occur due to these types of actions. Wildlife can be dangerous and unpredictable, and DEC’s environmental conservation offices deserve recognition for their successful pursuit of this case.”
The men were issued tickets for illegally pursuing and taking protected wildlife and the 18-year-old Calverton man was cited for failing to tag a six-point buck head at his home, according to the DEC. Each violation carries a fine of up to $250. The men are scheduled to appear at Riverhead Town Justice Court on November 27.
The DEC stated that attempting to capture a native animal can significantly stress or injure a wild animal and also may endanger the captor. The agency noted that certain wildlife are not well suited for life in captivity and may carry diseases that can be transmitted to people.