First and foremost, it’s a safety issue. DNR Conservation Warden Mike Dieckhoff says those who are shining and shooting deer can’t see beyond their target, and there are residents living nearby, making it too close for comfort. The penalties are stiff. “The penalties for illegal shining of deer, elk, and bear — basically shining and shooting those animals — has a fine of up to $2,152 for each count.”
Shining and shooting deer could also carry a three year revocation of hunting privileges for each count, and jail time. So, leave the weapons at home when driving around with your spotlight. In a recent case near Janesville, one man was fined $15,000; he lost his hunting licenses for 21 years; and was sentenced to a year behind bars.
Under state law, shining is limited during deer season. It’s allowed from sundown to 10 pm, September 15th through December 31. Dieckhoff says people seem to be a little riskier in less densely populated areas. “I would say that most of our hunters practice safe and ethical and legal hunting, and they’re law-abiding citizens.” But not everyone, he says. “There are those few individuals that do go out there and try to basically cheat the system and steal opportunities from other folks.”
Be sure to check with your municipality, as city and county ordinances can be enacted to prohibit such activity.
Report to DNR hotline if you see suspicious activity. 1-800-TIP-WDNR
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:47