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Idaho Fish and Game uses decoys to crack down on illegal hunting

Artificial simulated animals are used in areas where there's been a history of illegal hunting activity.
Credit: Phil Stamer/IDFG
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game uses decoys in areas where there has been a history of illegal hunting.

BOISE COUNTY, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is deploying decoys to crack down law-breaking hunters.

Conservations officers use "artificial simulated animals," or ASAs, in areas where there's been a history of illegal activity such as spotlighting, trespassing and road hunting.

ASAs are life-like copies of deer, elk and other game species that look and act like the real thing.

"Officers watch the animal and respond if someone violates the law," said Fish and Game Chief of Enforcement Greg Wooten. "This tool is extremely important in our effort to curtail illegal activity that is otherwise undetectable."

"This is similar to other law enforcement agencies watching an intersection based on reports of frequent instances of failing to stop at a stop sign, or monitoring speed compliance using radar."

Anyone found guilty of shooting an artificial animal may lose his or her license, face a fine up to $1,000 and a possible jail sentence of up to six months. There's also a minimum $50 restitution fee for shooting an ASA.

Officers can also cite people for shooting from a road, trespassing, shooting from a motorized vehicle, and other related infractions.

Judges and prosecutors typically treat ASA cases the same as shooting real animals. More than 48 states have been using artificial animals since the late 1980s.