Four Suffolk men face possible fines after they illegally captured a fawn and posed for photos that appeared on the photo-sharing site Instagram, officials said Wednesday.
Through an anonymous source, environmental conservation officers on Oct. 31 received two emailed images captured from the site, showing "young men posing with a live yearling whitetail deer," the state Department of Environmental Conservation said in a release.
In both images, posted at different times, George Salzmann, 18, of Calverton, is holding a "stressed deer," the DEC said.
At a local Calverton business on Nov. 1, conservation officers confronted Salzmann and three friends, leading Salzmann to admit he had twice captured deer, the first along Grumman Boulevard in Calverton, the DEC said.
Salzmann and Conor Lingerfelt, 19, of Jamesport, told officers they found the first deer trapped in a fence, said DEC spokeswoman Aphrodite Montalvo, who said the incident took place Oct. 25 or 26.
She said the second deer was captured on Oct. 29 by Salzmann; Lingerfelt; Joseph Sacchitello, 20, of Riverhead; and Anthony Infantolino, 20, of Wading River. Officers determined that the four were driving parallel to a fence on Hulse Landing Road and steered the vehicle to trap the deer, she said. The men brought it to Infantolino's home, later releasing it unharmed, she said, and a home security camera recorded the release.
The DEC said the officers "determined that the subjects had captured the deer" for the "thrill" of it."
Salzmann was issued two tickets "for the illegal take and pursuit of protected wildlife" and one "for failing to tag a six point buck deer head" that Salzmann had at his home," the DEC said.
Lingerfelt was issued two tickets for illegal take and pursuit, officials said. Sacchitello and Infantolino each received one ticket. Each ticket carries a possible fine of up to $250, the DEC said. The four, who could not be reached, are to appear Nov. 27 at the Town of Riverhead Justice Court.