Wildlife officials use robo-deer to catch poachers

By JOSH LOFTIN | October 9, 2011 | 4:25 PM EDT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — State wildlife officials nationwide are using roadside robot deer decoys to nab unscrupulous hunters, and the program is expanding in states such as Florida and Utah.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokeswoman Amy Canning says the state now has five robotic deer decoys.

Canning says the decoys are often used to catch hunters who try to shoot deer at night, which is prohibited even during hunting season.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Katie Purcell says Florida is using six decoys statewide.

She says the deer decoys allow officers to catch would-be poachers in the act, saving investigative time later.

Georgia's program was so successful that the state's robotic deer decoy had to be replaced in 2006 after being shot more than 1,000 times.