ROWLEY — A Topsfield hunter accused of breaking state regulations when he left heaps of corn on private property to lure deer into his sights was in court Tuesday hoping to avoid being arraigned on that charge and two others.
Late last year, a Newburyport District Court clerk magistrate ruled there was enough probable cause to arraign Anthony Caturano of Alderbrook Road, on charges of hunting over bait, trespassing and failing to carry a hunting license.
Massachusetts regulations state that corn and “other natural and artificial substances to attract or entice deer” must be removed within 10 days prior to the start of the deer hunting archery season. This year the archery season began Oct. 5, according to court records.
“Baiting is defined as the deliberate placing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of bait so as to constitute for deer a lure, attraction, or enticement to or on any area where hunters are attempting to take them. A baited area is any area where baiting has taken place,” the state regulation reads.
In court on Tuesday, Caturano’s attorney asked Judge Peter Doyle to hold off arraigning her client for another week so she could perhaps reach a resolution with the Massachusetts Environmental Police officer who cited him. Upon hearing no argument from an Essex County prosecutor, Doyle agreed to postpone Caturano’s arraignment until Jan. 20.
On Oct. 18, or 13 days after the archery season began, Environmental Police Officer Ryan Lennon was patrolling a cornfield owned by a local family behind Rowley’s elementary school near the town center. In the midst of deer feasting on corn there, Lennon spotted corn next to a trap on the edge of the field.
“I knew this corn to be used as bait for deer,” Lennon wrote in his report.
Lennon and another Environmental Police officer spotted a red pickup parked near the field and learned it belonged to Caturano. They then saw Caturano, armed with a compound bow, up in a tree stand and asked him to come down. The officers asked to see his hunting license only for Caturano to say he left it in his truck, a violation of state regulations.
When asked about the corn near the trap, Caturano told the officers he was trying to stop other animals from eating the corn. He also said he bought the corn from an Ipswich supply store.
“I asked Caturano if he knew the baiting regulations and he stated he did,” Lennon wrote in his report, adding that Caturano had set up a tree stand on private property.