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Dumbest Poachers of the Year: Part III

In part three of our recognition of illegal idiocy in the outdoor world, Robo Deer makes his first appearance.


Tennessee's Robo Deer Tricks Poachers; First to Receive Robo Deer of the Year Award
I could make some sort of cliché remark about a bird, a plane and Robo Deer, but I'll save the cleverness. We all know Robo Deer needs no introduction.

WTC News Channel 9 in Tennessee notes that a week prior to this year's early muzzleloader season, Robo Deer was hard at work as Wildlife Resource Officers were catching poachers in the act. Officers placed our robotic hero just off a side road and spotted plenty of outdoor idiots taking aim.

This yearly poacher-catching stakeout involves a hidden camera and a well-orchestrated plan to catch and arrest violators who attempt to shoot the impostor. The grainy surveillance video conjures thoughts of NBC's Chris Hansen's hand-in-the-cookie-jar approach to busting criminals.

Dumb poachers can be seen firing from the front seat of their vehicles and even helping their children to commit the crimes. In one particularly disturbing clip, a father can be seen steadying a muzzleloader in the cab of his truck for his teenage son to shoot. After an apparent miss, the dad pulls the gun inside the truck, reloads and then fires again.

                Read the first installment of The Poachey Awards.

Violators were charged with several serious offenses including reckless endangerment of their children. Other hunters received the more standard punishment of loss of their hunting license and a hefty fine.

The Chattanooga Chapter of the Safari Club International raises money to buy these robotic deer each season and repair the subsequent damage. The Robo Deer, which is made of real skin with robotics installed to control the head and tail, costs about $1,400 and is often damaged so badly that it has to be recovered at a cost of about $700. The Chattanooga Safari Club has donated about 10 deer over the past five years.

Second Robo Deer Gets Second Best Robo Deer of the Year Award
According to reports by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), a convicted felon was caught instructing his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter to shoot at a mechanical deer decoy—twice—while the girl's mother illuminated the fake whitetail with their pickup truck’s headlights.

As a felon, the Bay County, Fla. man, whose name was not released, was already prohibited by law from owning or possess a firearm. It seems, though, that he believed that he had found the perfect way around the law. What he didn't expect were Wildlife Conservation Commission officers Dennis Palmer and Mark Clements to be on stakeout as he conducted this family affair.

According to the FWC, all three were cited for night hunting and road hunting. Yet another opportunity for the Robo Deer's legend to grow in the dumbest poachers of the year record books.

2004 Dumbest Poachers of the Year Award Finally Announced
A while back was sent an account of the following wild tale that took place about five years ago. So, we would like to retroactively award these poachers with the 2004 Dumbest Poachers of the Year Award.

In November of said year, the Fond du Lac Reporter noted Gregorty Haen, 18, and two friends were shining deer by driving through an open Wisconsin field, when the three spotted a group of deer. One of the passengers later told authorities that they tried to “run the deer down and struck a doe.”

               Read the second installment of The Poachey Awards.

According to court documents, Haen suffered injuries during the incident, striking his head on the steering wheel after careening into ditch while fleeing the field.

One of the dumb poachers even admitted to taking the deer home and processing the meat. There is no conformation, though, as to the exact tenderness of this whitetail.

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