Three Caught by Albemarle County Decoy Deer Operation

By: Liz Palka Email
By: Liz Palka Email

December 16, 2009

The Albemarle County Sheriff's Office caught and charged three individuals with illegal hunting Tuesday night after they allegedly fell for the county's decoy deer operation.

Responding to the concerns of several land owners in the area who were hearing shots at night or finding dead deer in their fields, the Sheriff’s Office set up a decoy deer operation for the third time this year in the area of Carter’s Bridge on Route 20 South.

At approximately 9:00pm Tuesday night, police say a vehicle approached the field where the decoy was stationed. People in the vehicle stopped and opened fire. The buckshot blast blew the tail off the deer and damaged the battery system located near the rear of the decoy.

Officers responded on foot from a short distance away to catch the three culprits.

A 17-year-old girl and two adult men, 18-year-old Richard Todd Besecker, of Scottsville, and 29-year-old Thomas Allen Bollinger, of Palmyra, were taken into custody. A loaded shotgun and rifle were confiscated.

Sheriff Chip Harding says spotlighting deer is extremely unethical and illegal. More importantly, spotlighting is dangerous because someone, or something, could easily be hurt.

"It's so very dangerous to others that could be in the background in the dark," said Harding. "You could have a house with the lights off behind this live deer they're shooting at. You could have farm animals."

The two men were charged with nine hunting violations relating to the spotlighting shooting of the deer. Additionally, Besecker was charged with destruction of county property and possession of marijuana.

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