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Two men were arrested Sunday after they allegedly tried to hunt deer with illegal crossbows in a wooded area off Tonawanda Creek Road in Amherst, state conservation officers said today.

Anthony Parisi, 30, of 737 Tacoma Ave., Buffalo, and Cruciano Zanghi, 43, of 1209 New Road, Amherst, were arrested in Zanghi's home Sunday afternoon after authorities said they hunted off Tonawanda Creek Road near Transit Road.

The two suspects were charged with violating the state Environmental Conservation Law, pursuing wildlife with the use of a crossbow and hunting deer in a closed area, all violations, said Neil Ross, an officer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Officers from the DEC, State Police and Amherst Police Department confiscated two crossbows, which Ross said may not be legally used to hunt in the state.

The suspects were issued appearance tickets.

Amherst's quiet neighborhoods and its numerous wooded patches have in recent years been overrun by deer that increasingly pose hazards for motorists and destroy landowners' crops, shrubs and trees. Town and state lawmakers, animal-rights advocates and state officials have quibbled over how best to curtail the rising numbers, but no solution has been arranged.

In 1989, about 300 deer reportedly were killed by cars in Amherst, Town Clerk William L. Kindel said today.

"For every one you kill, there must be three or four out there that you don't see," Kindel said.

Authorities arrested Parisi and Zanghi after Ross questioned a man -- Jerome Rizzo Jr., 50, of 202 Whitney Place, Buffalo -- who had parked his car in an isolated area of Tonawanda Creek Road, Ross said.

"Upon a routine inquiry, the man in the car stated his buddies were back in the woods hunting deer with crossbows," Ross said.

Ross said authorities have received numerous complaints about deer poachers in secluded spots in Amherst.

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