As much as I enjoy fall and seeing all the pictures of the exceptional deer and elk that come through our office, as well as my own time in the field, there is one thing that irritates me to no end. Poaching! The great highway robbery that takes place every fall while the vast majority of hunters work their tails off to harvest big game trophies ethically and legally.
This morning I got the first of what will likely be many to come; mass emails from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department detailing three poaching cases. A bull elk was shot in unit 124, one of the best units in our fine state and also one of the hardest tags to draw. To add insult to injury, two antelope bucks were shot and left for dead in units 92 and 112. Both units are good hunts and if I were one of the lucky ones to have one of those hard to draw tags, I would be mad.
The fact of the matter is that every time anyone, regardless of status, unlawfully kills one of these animals, they rob someone else of opportunity, whether it be this year or the next when quotas reflect all animals taken. The bull shot in 124 appears to be a fairly young bull based on the picture but with the trophy potential for this unit, who knows what it could have been for a legal hunter in the next couple of years. Someone robbed the public resource of opportunity and that should resonate with all of us.
If you know anything about these cases, make sure you report it to the Wyoming Game And Fish tip line and make sure you harvest your trophies by the letter of the law this fall. We do our best in the MRS to include law changes for all 11 western states and hope you find them helpful when you are hunting this fall. We have always had strong opinions about poaching and that will never change. Fair chase is the only way to hunt and take trophy big game and that also means following all of our respective game laws! Good luck this fall and see you in the field!