Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hunter Admits Shooting Bull Moose

MooseA New Hampshire man has admitted illegally shooting a bull moose in the town of Croghan just west of the Adirondack Park.

Steven Zehr of Walpole, New Hampshire, turned himself in after shooting the animal on private land on the morning of November 25, according to Stephen Litwhiler, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Litwhiler said Zehr was in a tree stand and mistook the moose, which weighed nearly 690 pounds, for an antlered deer. It was about 10 a.m. when the moose was killed. Zehr was charged with illegally taking wild game, a misdemeanor, and paid a $1,200 civil fine.

Because Zehr, who was fifty-three, had taken a buck earlier in the week, he should not have been hunting deer in the first place, Litwhiler said. Consequently, he also pleaded guilty to hunting without a valid license, a violation, and agreed to donate $125 to a conservation fund.

Litwhiler said a wildlife pathologist did a postmortem examination of the moose—which was two and a half years old—and found nothing unusual.

The moose was the second shot in the state this past fall. As reported in the Almanack, a female moose calf was shot along the Tahawus Road in Newcomb. The caretaker of the Santanoni Club reported finding the carcass on November 1.  DEC has not determined who shot that moose.

Moose vanished from the state in the 1800s but have made a comeback in recent decades after dispersing from New England and Canada. DEC estimates that the state has six hundred to a thousand moose, mostly in the Adirondacks.

Hunting moose is illegal in New York State.

Photo of bull moose courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.

18 Responses

  1. Todd says:

    I have a hard time believing that a serious hunter could mistake a bull moose for an antlered deer as the moose in this scenario was 500 pounds heavier then a good sized antlered deer. The moose in the picture for this story resembles a cow not a bull, just saying.

  2. John says:

    Sorry, but this man got off easy! Way too easy! He should be banned from hunting in the state of NY forever, at the very least. This clown has no business hunting, and he is a crook. Sorry to be so forward but this inexcusable. Just my opinion though…

    • Paul says:

      Phil you say what he was charged with, was he convicted of that and paid the fine? Or did that charge get dropped?

      • Phil Brown says:

        He ended up paying a civil fine in lieu of the criminal charge.

        • Paul says:

          Thanks. I figured that was the case. I think that was pretty lenient.

          I have been lucky enough to see a moose while deer hunting here in the Adirondacks, there is no mistaking a moose for a deer. When you hear the thing coming you are pretty excited because you think the biggest buck you have even heard is approaching but once you see it you know it ajnt no deer.

  3. Bruce says:

    Hunting without a valid license, AND shooting illegal game should have been worth more than a $1200 fine and a small donation. Perhaps he should have been made to work with wildlife people, counting and radio tagging moose in his free time for a season, in addition. Then perhaps he would come away with greater respect for the work the understaffed DEC does in helping to provide habitat and its attendant game for legal hunters.

    It’s far too easy for folks who break game laws to buy their way out.

    Some years ago, we had an incident in NC where two people were caught with more than 100 trout over the limit, most of which were not legal size. They were let off with little more than a slap on the wrist by the “good ‘ole boy” prosecutor. That prosecutor was either fired or censured by the state Attorney General for misconduct. Poaching is serious business, but it’s not often thought of that way.

  4. Tim-Brunswick says:

    “Amen” to Todd’s comment on the so-called mistaken identity deal and I’ve been in the woods and hunting for over 50 years of my 67-years on this Planet. I’m sure the picture of the Cow Moose was simply attached to the story to compliment the article and not intended to represent a Bull Moose. I’d be more concerned over whether the meat from the moose was simply left for the coyotes and other critters or processed and used to feed folks in programs associated with DEC’s Venison for the hungry type programs?

    Nothing’s wasted in nature and the predators have to eat/survive, as well, but it would have been nice if that aspect had been addressed in the story.

    Thank you


  5. Ben says:

    The punishment is too light for this crime. This is not the 1800’s or earlier where a hunter needs to shoot game to survive. Henceforth, this man should not be allowed (licensed) to hunt in New York State.

  6. Jim Racquet says:

    I agree with john this man should be banned from hunting in NYS, way to soft on the punishment. as for having him work with the wildlife people BS! that should be a reward for the good citizen and hunter!

    Thank You
    Jim Racquet

    • Bruce says:

      Jim, contrary to what you may believe, working with wildlife people in the field can be damn hard, serious, and dirty work, most of the time it is not something I would relish as a prize for being a good citizen. The volunteers usually get most of the grunt work, because they’re not trained to do the more glamorous jobs.

  7. Roger says:

    Why would anyone expect the punishment meted out to these violators would be any kind of deterrent to these hunters? The penalty is so paltry. It was probably worth it to him just for the adrenaline rush. Time to get serious.

  8. Jim S. says:

    Tragic dumb mistake. I have to say I am impressed that he turned himself in but, a 690 lb. deer? Time for a different hobby. Stay away from hunting.

  9. Keith Silliman says:

    That’s not punishment or a deterrent. It is an invitation to trophy hunt.

  10. Charlie S says:

    Poor moose! Yet another victim of mindless man.The list gets bigger by the minute.

  11. Jim S. says:

    He should be barred from hunting everywhere. He might go skunk hunting in China and shoot a panda.

  12. Mike says:

    There really is no way an experienced hunter could possibly “mistake” a moose for a deer. And from a treestand no less? I say this as a 50 year old lifelong whitetail deer hunter myself. The instant you see a moose in the woods, before you even see the entire animal you know it is not a deer. The size, height, manner in which they move are very different from a deer. To mistake a 690 pound antlered moose as a deer from a treestand is unfathomable. Not sure what this guy was thinking (or perhaps he wasn’t thinking at all) but at least he had the decency to turn himself in, unlike who ever killed the young moose in Newcomb.

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