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SPCA: Goose Shooter May Not Have Broken Law

A $1,000 reward still stands if the person who maimed a goose seen in Noyac was hunting without a license or outside a permitted zone.

After stating on Sunday that an archer broke the law by shooting a goose with an arrow, the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chief said Monday afternoon that it is in fact legal to hunt geese in New York State with a bow and arrow — but that does not necessarily mean that the shooter is off the hook.

A $1,000 reward still stands if it turns out that the shooter, who has not been identified, is convicted by the New York State Department of Conservation for violating the law by hunting without a license or hunting, licensed or not, outside of a designated hunting area, SPCA Chief Roy Gross said Monday afternoon.

The SPCA reported on Sunday that a goose was photographed in Noyac, near Sag Harbor Cove across from Long Beach Road, walking around with an arrow going straight through its body.  Gross explained before the SPCA sent out an email offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the shooter, the New York State Department of Conservation was consulted.

Gross said the first DEC officer the SPCA spoke to said that using a bow and arrow to hunt geese is against the law. “We don’t just send out an email without checking," Gross said. "We did check, but obviously we got the wrong information.”

A different DEC representative later contacted the SPCA and said that bowhunting of geese is legal, when hunting regulations are adhered to, according to Gross.

Gross said that the SPCA's legal counsel is determining whether an animal cruelty charge could be leveled against the shooter in the case that the shot broke a hunting law, or if it would be a matter for the DEC to pursue alone.

“The Suffolk SPCA still looks at it as an act of cruelty, whether it is legal or not," Gross said. He said that it is his belief that a true sportsman would have used a more lethal broad tip arrow to shoot a goose and give it a quick death, rather than what appears from photographs to be a narrow field tip arrow. He said he consulted hunters that agreed they would not use a field point to hunt geese, but he acknowledged that it is not against to law to hunt small game with a field point. “We’re not interfering with legal hunting," Gross said. "We’re certainly not trying to do that.”

The DEC website states then when hunting waterfowl, "You must make a reasonable effort to retrieve all killed or crippled birds. Any wounded birds must be immediately killed and included in your daily bag."

Regardless of the legalities behind the shot, the SPCA is working with a number of agencies — including the DEC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons — to find the bird. Gross said that it is urgent that the bird is captured and given veterinary treatment, because it must be in pain and slowly dying.

To capture the goose, the SPCA is looking at borrowing or buying a net gun, Gross said.

In October, a Peking duck with an arrow through its neck was discovered in Patchogue, and in July 2011 a swan shot with an arrow was found near Indian Island County Park in Riverhead. Gross said neither shooter has been found.

He is asking anyone with information on the goose shooter to come forward by confidentially calling the SPCA at 631-382-7722.

lol December 10, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Please!!! to the guy who legally shot that goose with an arrow. NICE SHOT but a little low. You have to retrieve that goose by law. You must make an attempt to retrieve it. We all know where the goose is now. Go get it. Bring it in to a taxidermist. It will be such a great conversation piece. Invite Gross to your home, I'm sure he would love to pet it.
Bonac Refugee December 11, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Thanks for printing this update.I certainly hope that the other news outlets who have been hyping this story do the same.I find it very hard to belive that the head of the SPCA doesn't know the law.Or could it be another case of a government agency way overstepping it's bounds.The SPCA over sees domestic and agricultural animals , they have no jurisdiction over migratory waterfowl which are regulated by the federal governmnet.
christie nicolle December 11, 2012 at 04:27 PM
strange... we can kill cows, chickens, turkeys, but no goose. Why??
Matt December 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I think this makes the Huffington Post look like a bunch of amateurs. Who calls the SPCA for a hunting quote and doesnt bother to look it up themselves? The only credit due is that they updated the story. I always wondered if these taste any good. They definitely aren't hard to find. I can show you a few parks i wont bring my kids to because of these.
Barbara Goldowsky December 12, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Allowing any animal, or human, to suffer is an act of cruelty. Whether the shooting was legal or not, the person responsible should have the courage to retrieve the wounded bird and deal with it humanely. There is a moral as well as a legal responsibility. .
Kimbo January 31, 2013 at 05:44 AM
These hunters make me absloutely sick. While traveling Town Line Road a few days ago, I saw a group of about 10 hunters in a field. Within seconds, a goose came out of the sky and landed on the side of the road maybe 100 feet ahead of where I saw the hunters. The goose was flailing and obviously in great distress. I pulled over immediately, hoping to help it but it was full of blood and was bleeding at the mouth. It died a very traumatic and painful death within 5 minutes. No hunters came looking for a goose. Thankfully, the poor goose landed OFF the road. It could have come down on a car! What an accident that could have caused! I don't care what the DEC guidelines are- I see very few hunters going to search for the shot geese and put them out of their suffering. and remember- these are geese that people feed all year long- they no longer fear man. It's kill for the thrill. Sickening.
highhatsize January 31, 2013 at 04:54 PM
to Kimbo: Well spoken! What diseased mind finds "fun" in inflicting terror, pain and suffering? What disturbed aesthetic prefers torn flesh and gore to the beautiful symmetry of a living animal?

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