TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- It's the perfect time of year for hunting. And, Indiana conservation officers are cracking down on illegal hunters.
It's illegal to spot a deer with the headlights of a car as well as shooting an animal out of a car window.
Officer, Nathan Lutz, explained there is a potential maximum penalty, of six months in jail and $1,000 in fines for both offenses. He also says there would be an automatic replacement fee of $500 to the state for the animal.
Scott Webster has been hunting for 42 years. He says it's the challenge he loves.
"You work so hard to get these animals," Webster said. "And, they are really smart, smarter than most people give them credit for. So when you do finally get one, it's a big deal."
Webster says he gets frustrated when hunters don't play the game right.
"A lot of people get greedy," Webster said.
He says it shines a bad light on hunters everywhere.
"What you need to realize is that a hunter is not a poacher and a poacher is not a hunter," Webster said.
And, as much as a frustration that comes from poachers killing wildlife, Websters says it's also a safety concern.
"You don't know what is behind the deer, especially at night," Webster said. "You could be shooting at somebody's house."
With it turning dark at an earlier hour, Webster says it's something to be more cautious of.
"When the shadows are really long, that seems to be when deer movement is the highest," he said.
Conservation officers say they can use help. A program called "Turn In a Poacher (TIP)" allows citizens of Indiana to play an active role in protecting natural resources. It allows a person to anonoymously send tips. If your information leads to an arrest, you could recieve as much as a $200 reward.
To turn in a poacher, you can call the Indiana Department of Natural Resources at 800-847-4367. Dispatchers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Complaints can also be filed online here.