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Another Season Closed…Another Round Of Poaching

If you are familiar with this blog you know that we report on poaching incidents with regularity. Sometimes we are lucky enough to see a case head to court and that is what appears to be happening in a poaching case in the Roundup, Montana area. Earl Russel Benes faces 24 criminal counts, of which eight will be felonies. We reported this earlier this fall and it feels good to know that the resolution to this case seems to be on it’s way.

However, there are still plenty of others to report on. Like a bull moose that was shot and left to waste in the Highland Mountains south of Butte, Montana. This one is particularly sad because of the scarcity of moose tags across the West. Many hunters have been building points and strategies to hunt the Shiras subspecies of moose for years and when an incident like this happens it robs hunters of opportunities.

There was also the incident of poached spike bull elk on Montana State University’s Red Bluff Ranch, this incident may simply be a case of someone not identifying their target and shooting a spike where it is illegal to do so. When these types of incidents are actually reported by the hunters admitting fault the meat can often be salvaged and donated. When a fear of consequences strikes though, the meat is more often than not wasted.  

In the same article detailing the spike elk poaching two more poaching incidents are detailed involving white tailed deer that were likely shot at night. Willful incidents like this are the ones that are very hard to swallow for me as a hunter. If you know anything about this incident let the authorities in Montana know. 

Below are several more incidents that are worth reporting as well. Let’s do our best to make sure that next we have as few poaching cases as possible!

  1. What Motivates Poachers? 
  2. Need Help Finding Utah Poacher
  3. 4 Bull Elk Found Poached In Montana


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  1. The fines and punishment is simply not great enough. They need to start cutting people hands off and selling their belongings. Make the fines and the punishment so severe that only a fool would poach. Remove the trigger finger, sell their home, 10 years with a GPS tracker attached to their leg.

    See folks the problem is that a good elk hunt costs between 5-10K
    These guys are getting away with poaching for a couple thousand in fines and court costs (When they get caught, and this rarely happens).

    To someone who poaches, they are looking at it from a financial standpoint. It is a better alternative to poach and maybe get caught than it is to pay an outfitter for a hunt or draw a tag.

    The fines are just too low. Its that simple.

    Ruin people lives who poach. Its the only way. Flat out ruin them financially. HUGE fines. Something like 100,000$ and confiscate their guns and hunting equipment. Take it all and ruin their life.

    Oh ya, and why isn’t this knuckleheads photo posted so people can recognize this guy. I never see the faces of these poachers. Sportsmen and women should have the right to be able to recognize these idiots when they are out hunting. It would help report them if they have a ban and someone sees them out hunting.

  2. Make it a Felony with mandatory jail time (30 day min).

  3. Carter Halverson

    They do what they do because the punishment is not severe enough. For example, DUI. If the fine were $10.000 and a year in jail…..

  4. Vernon R Anderson

    Back in the mid 1970’s when Kentucky was trying to get its Whitetail Deer herd re-established I was a wildlife biologist /area manager working with a county game warden on August 23,1975 around 2 AM on a stake out on my wildlife area. We encountered a car load of spot lighters and tried to stop them . The driver ran in a ditch and when the warden stopped in front of the vehicle I stepped out of passenger door and stood in front of headlight, One of the spot lighters shot me with a 12 GA magnum load of 00 buckshot from road ditch by front door. He and warden shot it out and spot lighter was shot twice. He survived and got 28 years in pen. I also survived by the Grace of God and am able to tell the story 44 years later!

  5. If you can shoot back

  6. Matthew Heinlein

    I’m in no way downplaying what a poacher does. I think they need fines and loose their hunting licenses depending on the severity of the case. Some say take their house,guns,pickups and hit them really hard which is fine. But 3 to $4000 dollar fine when the elk or moose hunt would cost 2 to 3 times that is kinda crazy. Why not have more hunts priced in the fine range instead of being so high priced?

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