Dept. of Fish & Wildlife to File Charges with DA
By Susan Motander and Terry Miller
Monrovia neighborhood residents are irate about a hunter who shot and killed a deer in Monrovia last week.
On Thursday Sept. 14, Chuck Tapert, a resident of Monrovia on Patrician Way discovered blood in his neighborhood. Checking the footing from his surveillance camera, he was shocked to discover a man, armed with a hunting bow, shoot and kill a young male deer that was wandering in the neighborhood nibbling on foliage.
After posting the video on social media, several people responded to the post suggesting that he report the incident. On Saturday morning he contacted Monrovia Police Department. MPD brought in California Fish and Wildlife, the agency in charge of such matters. They were able to determine the license plate number of the BMW vehicle the shooter was driving and traced that to Mike Rodriguez, reported to be a Duarte resident.
According to Monrovia Police Chief Jim Hunt who has remained in contact with Fish and Wildlife, their officers went to Rodriguez’s residence, interviewed him, seized the venison, which had already butchered, and the deer’s antlers.
Chief Hunt speculated that several misdemeanor charges may be brought against the shooters, however Patrick Foy, a representative of Fish and Wildlife sent the following statement to this publication:
“The deer case is under active investigation with no way to tell exactly when it will wrap up. Because it is under active investigation, I cannot tell you what the potential charges will be, except for the obvious one which is a potential violation of Fish and Game Code 3004, discharge of a deadly weapon with 150 yards of an occupied dwelling.”
Michael Rodriguez, spoke with several television reporters last Saturday and said he only did what was humane for the deer after he seriously wounded it while hunting in the Angeles National Forest.
“This guy in the afternoon rolls out of this car, come in with a full deer pack – a hunting bow – and takes a shot at a small deer, not even a full grown deer,” resident Chuck Tapert told ABC TV.
But Rodriguez rebuffed critics and told ABC…”The real story was that I was not some lunatic with a bow in the back of a vehicle just looking to shoot a deer in a residential area.”
He claimed that he was hunting in the forest that morning. The licensed hunter said his first arrow only wounded the deer and it then ran down into the residential area. Rodriguez claims he wanted to put the animal out of suffering.
Rodriguez said he reported the incident that day to Monrovia police and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. This was the first deer he ever shot and said he knows he violated the rules, but claims he had no choice.
Andrew Hughan, Information Officer for Dept. of Fish and Wildlife said they plan on filing charges against the hunter. “We have interviewed the suspect and collected evidence from him and the deer. The case is under investigation and we plan to file a case with the district attorney, ” Hughnan said in a written statement.
Rodriguez told CBS L.A. that the deer is now in his freezer and will be used to feed his family. Chief Hunt noted that hunting is not legal in the city that includes the Hillside Wilderness Preserve and Monrovia’s Canyon Park. Both those areas cover many acres and put several miles between any area in which hunting is legal at sometimes only. Patrician Way is even further separated from the Wilderness and Park by Gold Hills, and Hidden Valley before even nearing these wilderness areas of the city.
Carefully viewing the surveillance footage, the young deer does not appear to be wounded in any way. He is not acting erratically and is wandering calmly with several other deer snacking on leaves.
This issue aside, how does one track a wounded deer through a wilderness in a motor vehicle?