By Jessica Murri
A spotlighter is a hunter who shines a light onto a hillside at night, making deer stop in their tracks and look at the bright light. Then, from the road, hunters shoot the deer—which is illegal. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game issued a news release warning spotlighters that it plans to take "aggressive action to catch and prosecute people who spotlight game animals."
Conservation officers plan to use ASAs—or, Artificial Simulated Animals—to catch hunters in the act along roadsides. ASAs are life-like figures of deer, elk and other game species with moving parts.
IDFG states that shooting from a vehicle or road is dangerous and unethical, and "casts a poor light upon hunters." Road hunters can be issued many citations such as spotlighting, trespassing, shooting from a motorized vehicle, shooting from across the road and waste of game.
Any hunter that does shoot an ASA will lose his or her license, and face a fine up to $1,000 as well as a possible jail sentence of six months. IDFG tacked on another $50 for shooting an ASA, to help maintain the decoys. Almost all the states in the country as well as several Canadian provinces use ASAs to reduce illegal hunting practices. The decoys have been popular since the late 1980s.
IDFG also wants the public's help in reducing illegal hunting activity. Anyone who suspects illegal activity having to do with fish or wildlife can call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 800-632-5999. Callers are kept anonymous and may even receive cash awards if the tip ends in a citation.