Increase The Penalties For Missouri Poachers
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Harsher Penalties Are A MUST For Missouri Poachers
We would like start by sharing two recent Missouri poaching cases:
(1) December 2015, a bull elk was shot in the head and killed on the banks of the Current River in Shannon County, the top of the skull and antlers were removed with a chainsaw; the rest of the carcass was left behind and intact. The penalties for such a crime, which are rarely enforced, would be a $1,000 fine and jail time. Compared to Utah, this fine would be $8,000.
(2) Earlier this year a Jefferson County man (Chris Keown) pleaded guilty and was fined a mere $99.50 for poaching a black bear that wondered near his home. A small punishment, especially since he’s had run-ins with game officials in the past. If he had fought the ticket and gone to trial, he could have faced up to $1,000 in fines and up to a year in jail.
According to Larry Yamnitz, Protection Division Chief with the Missouri Department of Conservation, “We don’t have a criminal forfeiture law for property involved in wildlife cases.” This needs to change.
Representative Linda Black understands the importance of higher penalties and is on the right track with her bill: HB 1971
“1. In addition to the penalties provided in section 252.040, any person convicted of chasing, pursuing, taking, transporting, killing, processing, or disposing of wildlife in violation of methods, seasons, and limits as defined and permitted by commission rules and regulations may be required to provide restitution to the state in an amount as follows:
(a) $750 for each wild turkey;
(b) $1,500 for each white-tailed deer; and
(c) $3,500 for each black bear or elk.
2. Moneys collected under this section shall be transferred to the state school moneys fund as established in section 166.051 and distributed to the public schools of this state in the manner provided in section 163.031.”
We, Missouri residents and non-residents, demand that our state take the illegal harvesting of wildlife more seriously…
We demand that repeat offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
We demand that felony charges are appropriate for repeat offenders.
We demand the forfeiture of property including:
(1) whatever means of transportation/vehicle (truck, atv, boat, etc.) the poacher used to arrive at their location.
(2) weapons (firearms, bows, traps, knifes) and ammunition.
(3) all gear used during the crime - packs, blinds, scopes, tree stands, coolers, clothing/footwear, decoys, calls, lights, tools/equipment, etc.
These confiscated items would be auctioned/sold, moneys would be distributed to the public schools.
A slap on the wrist and a small fine is no longer acceptable, these puny penalties and possible loss (or short term loss) of hunting privileges are meaningless to poachers. It’s time to step it up Missouri!
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