i received a reply .It said that while i could track the deer at night with lights i should not carry my bow or gun if i wanted to kill the deer i could use a knife or wait till morning.From a DEC officer
This came up during my bowhunter instructor certification process. The Master instructor watching me teach had taken issue with my discussion with students re tracking at night. His take was that"we have no business hunting or pursuing deer after dark."
I found this troubling on several levels- what I had been taught, what was ethical in my opinion, and what was legal. I have a certain level of experience with NYS conservation law in the course of my regular job, and I knew that the DEC likes the fact that the law is vague on many points. That way they get to interpret it the way they want to in the course of investigation and enforcement. I know this for a fact.
As it happened I ran into an ECO that I knew well and put the question to him re recovering deer at night. His measured response was to the effect that he "didn't like the idea of leaving them out in the woods overnight but he was aware of the way the reg read", which I believe has to do with the terms "pursuing" and "hunting" So it begs the question, at what point does the process of hunting stop and the process of "recovering" begin?
This kind of thing will always depend to a certain extent on what ECO is enforcing the reg and what the circumstances are surrounding it. These folks are for the most part, highly trained people who have a keen sense of what's going on and who's trying to get away with what. If I shoot at dusk and have a reasonable expectation of recovering a dead deer I for one am on the trail. Deer have been getting dragged out after dark since man has been hunting them, particularly in big country.
I'm not going back to the truck to ditch my bow or gun and I don't think an ECO acting reasonably would expect me to do that.
If I'm up to no good, this is something that usually gets found out sooner or later. Has an ECO ever written a ticket that was not warranted? Most likely. It has been my experience that most of them are not wired that way.