Yes, you read the headline correct – 26 deer. The 5 individuals were charged with night hunting, and one of the adults was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, police said. The illegal killing occurred in Pinetops, North Carolina. Not only is night-hunting illegal, but hunting season had official ended on January 1st.

“The deer were in various states of decay,” said Lt. Sam Craft, with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. “Some were just the heads with the antlers, and others were whole deer left to lie in the field,” according to wral.com.  “You don’t know what to say to people who commit crimes like these,” Craft said. “In the early stage of the investigation, it does not appear they were trying to feed their families.”

Craft said 16 heads, mostly from bucks, were found at a home in Pinetops, about 50 miles east of Raleigh. Ten other deer were found in various fields around Edgecombe County. One of the deer, which was shot and left for dead, had to be put down after officials found it wandering in a field.

The suspects could be fined and lose their hunting licenses for two years. It isn’t clear whether the suspects have attorneys to comment on the charges.

Below is a video titled “Poachers in the Headlights” which shows one method the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources uses to combat poaching – with the use of a mechanical or dummy deer. Jack Lytle discusses why the division uses this approach to catch poachers in Utah.

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