Five men in the northern region of Cañas, Guanacaste had their Sunday afternoon deer hunting spree put to a quick end by police who were tipped off on the subjects entering the forest with hunting dogs and rifles, said the Ministry of Public Security.
Police were aided by officials of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC, in Spanish), who have been on alert in recent weeks for deer hunters in the area.
Article 93 of the Costa Rican Wildlife Conservation Act establishes a penalty of imprisonment of one (1) to three (3) years and the confiscation of the equipment and any animals that may have been trapped or captured when the conduct is to the detriment of wild animals declared to be in danger of extinction or with small populations in any part of the national territory.
Yesterday’s incident occurred in Pozo Azul, in the district of Palmira in Cañas, Guanacaste. The five men (two brothers named Murillo, and three other suspects with surnames Ramírez, Chávez and Rodríguez) also had their seven hunting dogs, plus weapons and ammunition seized, said police.
The hunters were armed with a pistol, three shotguns and 18 rounds of ammunition, and had not yet caught any animals.
Other white-tailed deer – which are one of Costa Rica’s national symbols – earlier this month were not so lucky, when their remains were discovered ready for sale and consumption by police in another part of Guanacaste.
On September 12, Guanacaste Conservation Area guards acted on a tip off and captured tow suspects fleeing on bicycle in the Palenque – El Roble sector of Liberia.
The butchered meat was donated to the nearby Las Pumas Wildlife Rescue Center where the non-profit center can use it to feed their rescued felines, said police.
White-tailed deer are endangered due to loss of habitat to development, and continued poaching.