Poaching Hurts

Who Does Poaching Hurt?
All of us who hunt, fish, trap, watch wildlife, guides and outfitters or sell gear for these activities.

How Does Poaching Hurt?
By removing trophy elk, deer, big horn sheep, fish or other trophy species, the gene pool is damaged.  Trophies of any species are survivors.  Removing the survivors damages the herd or the fishery so that less survivors are produced.  If enough poaching occurs, there will be less trophies for all of us who hunt, fish or watch wildlife.

What is Poaching – from a poche, bag or pocket or to cook in simmering liquid per the Websters online Dictionary. But the kind of poaching I am talking about is where a person illegally takes fish or shoots game without a license, out of season, in an illegal manner or in a place were fishing and hunting is not allowed.  Sometimes poaching occurs on private land and sometimes on public land. When poaching happens on private land, land owners often associate a few bad apples with all the law abiding hunters and fishermen.  The result is less and less access to private lands.

When poaching occurs on public land the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact may be applied to a person(s) caught poaching.  License suspensions in one state will usually result in suspension in all member states and may be a lifetime revocation of hunting, fishing or trapping licenses.

This excerpt from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife explains the basic concepts of the Compact:
The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact (Compact) is an agreement in which member states reciprocate regarding the suspension or revocation of licenses and permits resulting from violations concerning hunting, fishing and trapping laws. If a person’s license or permit privileges which come under the scope of the Compact are suspended or revoked in one member state, they are subject to suspension or revocation in all member states. In addition to license and permit suspensions and revocations which result from a conviction for the illegal pursuit, possession or taking of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, shellfish and crustaceans, failing to appear in court or to otherwise answer a ticket or summons issued for such violations will also result in license or permit suspension. Compact member states also agree to recognize convictions for violations within the scope of the Compact  which occur in all other member states and to apply them toward license and permit suspension and revocations in the state in which the person resides. The article also has a brief history of the Compact.

For states in the compact, nearly 17,000 poachers have lost their hunting, fishing or trapping privileges since 1998, including more than 2,800 so far this year (2007). License revocations can range from one year up to a lifetime for a flagrant violation.  In 2006, Colorado set the record for license revocations with 582 followed by Iowa with 543. (Editor Note: Way to go guys.)  see http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/board/showthread.php?t=43889 for the full story about what happened to one angler who was caught poaching.

Here is a link to the Colorado DOW information about the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.  The member states participating in the Compact are:  Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

This is 28 states out of 50 in the Unites States.  Over 50% of the states are participating with each other to stop poaching, protect wildlife, fisheries and maintain the flow of license revenues.

Hawaii, Louisiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire are in the process of passing legislation about joining the Compact.  Arkansas and Kentucky have passed legislation to join the Compact. Alaska is considering joining.

Stopping poaching protects revenues from hunting and fishing related to trips, equipment sales, guide fees and other such revenues. (According the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 2006 Survey some $109 Billion dollars is involved in hunting, fishing and wildlife watching with wildlife watching being the largest component.)  By the time you add the trickle down effect, this is multiplied to about $730 billion dollars. Much more than pocket change.

In Colorado, the “Operation Game Thief” number is 1-877-265-6648 or email at game.thief@state.co.us. If you carry a cell phone program this number on speed dial.  Try and get photos of the poaching while in process and the license plate number of involved vehicles. For information on two cases the CDOW has successfully prosecuted with assistance from New Mexico, Wyoming and Arkansas Wildlife Departments.  http://wildlife.state.co.us/RulesRegs/.

It is up to all of us to report poaching and protect our precious fishing and wildlife resources.

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Marshall, Editor

One thought on “Poaching Hurts

  1. Tom

    Thank you so much for posting this! There is so much misinformation out there about poaching. Some people are convinced that if they aren’t shooting elephants for ivory, then they aren’t poaching! Seriously, thanks for the great post!