By Lindsey Gordon
VERMILION COUNTY -- One man is fed up with deer poaching where he lives, so he’s trying to do something about it.
Just this week he says someone shot and killed a deer from a truck, taking only the antlers. It happened in rural Vermilion County, in Fairmount, and it’s illegal.
Chris Cook says poaching is a growing problem and since police don’t always have the resources to keep an eye out, he’s doing it for them.
"Last year was probably one of the worst years up till this year," said Cook.
Poaching is just hunting illegally, including outside of the season and without a permit.
"They know where the deer are, they know where the concentrations are," he said, about poachers that look for deer where he lives.
Cook says people should think twice before doing it in his neighborhood.
"I followed a gentleman and they ended up catching him. He had shot from his vehicle, actually I heard the shot, and drove down there and followed him, got his license plate," he said.
Cook is an outdoorsman, sometimes hunting in the fields not far from his home with permission from landowners. He knows his neighbors and when someone isn’t supposed to be there and has decided to keep an eye out for poachers.
"Every now and then you see a car stop, turn their lights off, get out a spotlight, things like that," he said.
Recently Cook saw someone else shoot a deer from a truck. It was left with only the antlers removed.
"Saw him circling the quarry. He's the one that actually took the antlers off the deer. Shot the deer from the road, circled back around after he shot it and then went out in the field to get the antlers," he said.
Even though it’s outside of hunting season, spotlighting and shooting deer from a truck is always against the law.
"There's a code of ethics when you're hunting. All hunters, all real hunters, we know what's right and what's wrong," said Cook.
After working with the state resource officers, Cook got permission and now has that buck in his garage, ready to be cut up and used for food.
He doesn’t get paid for what he does, but police say they rely on people like him to bring these poachers to justice.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has information about deer poaching and how to report it on their website.
It says they don’t know how many deer or other animals are poached each year, but the estimates show it may be as many as are taken legally.
The state capitol is looking into tighter restrictions for hunting. A new law was proposed that would make it illegal to hunt with drones.
A drone is described as any unmanned aerial vehicle.
The bill was introduced by state senator Julie Morrison (D- Deerfield). The law would make it illegal to use drones to hunt any type of wildlife, including fish. Video.