Wisconsin conservation wardens asking for public's help addressing poaching

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Imagine going for a walk through the park and seeing a deer with a crossbow bolt stuck in its head.

That's what happened to one cyclist in Whitnall Park recently.

Wisconsin DNR Milwaukee County Conservation Warden Samuel Haferkorn said poaching incidents in parks like Whitnall are some of the worst crimes they deal with because they can put people's lives in danger.

Haferkorn said they deal with situations like the injured deer spotted by the cyclist on April 2 quite a bit, which is why they're looking to educate the public and they're asking for your assistance to help keep trails and parks like these safe.

"This is a constant issue that I deal with all year," said Haferkorn.

He said there have been many reports of illegal poaching activities in the past year in Whitnall Park and across Milwaukee County.

One of the most common things reported is "shining and shooting" incidents.

"An individual going around the parkways and discharging either a crossbow or a firearm from the roadway and using a light to artificially light up the deer that they're trying to harvest," said Haferkorn.

He said the deer spotted April 2 is still under investigation, but it could be one such incident.

"We have people recreating day and night on our trails, on the roadways biking, and it's extremely dangerous for an individual to be hunting in such a manner," said Haferkorn.

He says families live near these parks and kids play in them.

"Fortunately, we haven't had an incident where a house has been struck, even worse a someone being struck," said Haferkorn.

He said they're looking to keep it that way, which is why they want to remind people there are many public and private places to hunt nearby.

Haferkorn said reporting incidents you see or hear about is key as it can lead to prosecuting such situations.

One situation they prosecuted after being tipped off by residents happened in Whitnall Park as well.

"Thankfully we were able to hold this person accountable with fines, revocation, confiscation of equipment," said Haferkorn.

He said you can report incidents to both the police, or their hotline, at 1-800-TIP-WDNR.

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