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Montana Poacher Facing 18 Charges

Facing down one misdemeanor charge for each year of his life, Brayden Reed of Shepherd, MT is in up to his neck. 

“Brayden Reed has been charged with three counts of hunting without a license, three counts of hunting during a closed season, three counts of unlawful use of artificial light, three counts of waste of game, three counts of unlawful possession of game, two counts of killing over a bag limit and one count of hunting on private property without landowner permission.”

It seems that young Mr. Reed has a taste for backstraps and antlers but an aversion to lawful hunting methods and apparently the rest of the mule deer he left to rot at the Ahi-Nei Recreation area where he also illegally felled a tree and burned it while littering the ground with “beverage” cans, I will leave it to you to guess what kind of beverage cans. 

It does not appear that need was the motivation for this poaching spree. So what then? Boredom? Teenage angst? Lack of guidance? Ego? Whatever it was, this young man’s blatant disregard for lawful hunting and methods of take is, unfortunately, all too common. We see the proof of this in the number of poaching cases streaming across our news feeds on a weekly basis. 

What’s the answer? 

In past blogs about poaching I’ve railed against leniency when dealing with offenders and have consistently called for a heavier hand to apply punitive measures. Afterall, the greater the punishment the greater the deterrent right? 

Not that I’m waffling on that stance but this instance is making me look hard at my hard line stance on poaching punishments. This young man is 18 years old. Lawfully, an adult. However, he has the probability of a long life ahead of him and this just may be an opportunity for him to learn a valuable lesson and impact the future of poaching at the same time. 

How? Simple. If found guilty, require him to perform restorative community service. Lots of it! Planting trees, picking up litter on public land, working off his debt to the people of Montana by working for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He could labor on habitat restoration, CWD monitoring, the sky’s the limit, and in the Big Sky State… Well, you get the picture. All of this and a public speaking requirement to school kids on why poaching is wrong and what he’s learned from his nefarious past. 

My point here is that I think this could be a golden opportunity for Brayden Reed, IF he is the kind of guy who cherishes his future. You all may think I’m way off base but I see proverbial lemons here and if he were my 18 year old son I’d expect him to start making the best damn lemonade possible. 





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  1. Unfortunately he learned this behavior from someone.

  2. I tend to agree with you on having him work the fines off. But one needs to make sure this is not just an easy out for him. He does need to serve some jail time. And you are right he learned this from somewhere. I would say that we do need to get as tough as Canada on these poachers and everything that was used in the pouching of the game needs to be taken, vehicle, guns etc. and I don’t care they can never have a hunting license in another state. If you get a DUI in Canada you are not allowed back in the country that’s tough law. There is no reason for this I don’t care if the excuse is you are hungry there a food banks etc. Most of the time this is just plain no regard for animals and people these people that due this are probably misusing their own dogs or family.

  3. If the trespassing is done with a firearm it should be a felony. Period. I don’t like these guys

    • You must be a landowner or an outfitter? If they were trespassing with a quiet crossbow that would be ok? The main issue is that these poachers take and kill all of our wildlife. Poaching itself should be the felony. My house can get robbed and if it’s under a certain dollar amount it’s a misdemeanor! The law is whacked all around. Private property isn’t the issue when it comes to poaching. I say charge this “beverage” drinking adult to the full extent of the law to include community service about wildlife! If this young adult would have killed a family while driving after his illegal campfire and sodas this would definitely be a different blog?????

  4. If he works off part of the fine it will just teach him how the fish and wildlife works and how to avoid getting caught. He may find some more places to poach by hanging with them also.

  5. He learned it from someone….. I agree make him work it off and fine him for it. Then take his hunting rights for 5 or 10 years. He needs to learn what he did is not right, and need to be treated the way he was acting like a criminal


  7. It is my understanding that poachers are frequently repeat offenders.
    1) Difficult to catch
    2) Difficult to prosecute
    3) Frequent prosecutor deals that minimize punishment
    4) Pathetic levels of justice from the courts

    If you prosecute him to the maximum, including paying for the deer he wasted, the tree he cut down, makeshift fires without proper safety,; it will cost him money!

    Consider your own evidence.
    Deer back straps cut out.
    Large fire.
    Lots of ‘beverage’ cans litter.

    Odds are the poacher was not alone and shared his illegal backstraps with others of his unlawful nature.

    Prosecute him to the maximum extent of the law as the law is meant to accomplish! His well fed pals may skip poaching if they become worried about getting caught.

  8. Don’t be like California letting criminals go only leads to disastrous results give them an inch they take it a mile prosecute prosecute prosecute Have no sympathy he will learn his lesson also No hunting 20 years!!!!!!!

  9. Permanent ban from hunting. Massive fines AND prison time.


    A quick online search confirms that there are dozens & dozens of people who have no respect for wildlife or code of conduct- OR THE LAW. They laugh at law enforcement & game wardens like it’s some game to them.


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