Illegal shooting of deer whether out of season, at night or without tags, is a big problem around New York. If you get caught doing it, the penalties got a little tougher this week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that will double the fine for first offenders, with penalties of up to $500 possible, and increase the fine for repeat offenses and misdemeanor poaching charges to up to $3,000.

Out local Assembly member, Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, was one of the sponsors of the Assembly bill.

The change many of us wanted to see, a stripping of hunting license privileges for those convicted, was not included.

The law change takes effect next spring, and comes as our region deals with a rash of illegal dumping of deer carcasses, many of which appeared to have been illegally shot.

Numerous sportsmen groups, including the New York State Conservation Council, have been pushing for this change for years.

The bill's text can be found here.

-- Don Lehman