NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A man was arrested on Staten Island, accused of illegally hunting deer with a crossbow in a popular park used by people and pets.

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, Cody Pernice, who hails from Norfolk near the Canadian border, brought his apparent sharp shooting to the wrong part of New York State. On Tuesday, he decided to test his aim at Conference House Park on Staten Island.

An off-duty police officer who was out for an evening stroll with his wife first notice Pernice’s pickup truck parked near the intersection of Connecticut Street and Clermont Avenue. Perhaps the corn filling the bed, used to bait deer, caught his attention.

The officer headed into the woods and found Pernice propped high up on a tree stand, holding a crossbow. It’s illegal to hunt in New York City.

“All the sudden we saw a bunch of cop cars coming down the block,” said Joe Marchese, who lives right across the street.

At first, Marchese thought the strong police showing meant a drug bust.

“Little did we know, there was a guy up in a tree trying to shoot the deer,” he said. “I said, ‘Oh, here we go again with these deer.’”

“If he missed, he could have shot a person. It’s very dangerous,” he added.

Still, no one Murdock spoke with seemed shocked to hear about someone trying to take a deer’s life in the area.

“I’m not surprised, considering how many deer there are now,” one man said.

“It doesn’t surprise me that much,” a woman added. “As long as he was caught and he’s not doing it when children are around.”

Pernice spent the night in custody and then spent the day awaiting arraignment in criminal court of charges of criminal possession and prohibited use of weapons. He was later released on his own recognizance.

He has another court date scheduled for December 15th.

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