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Public Wildlife Theft!

newsletter 11 15 public wildlife theft

All of us as hunters need to take a long hard look at a press release that the Wyoming Game and Fish just came out with. Four out of ten vehicles that observed and passed a decoy buck in an area west of the Tetons ended up with citations for attempted poaching. 40% of the people who saw the decoy couldn’t keep their fingers off the trigger after deer season had been closed for 3 days!

As hunters, we can do better than this and we will have to if we want to win the ever present public relations battle that we fight on a daily basis. Our image as hunter-conservationists matters in a world that is bombarded with social media telling them how to think, behave, and vote. People who don’t hunt really could care less about the size of the antlers on the animal we harvested but they do care about the ethics that we employed harvesting our trophies. They want to know that we took care of the meat and did everything possible to recover what we are legally required to.

The curious thing is that the “locavore” movement is growing, with more people who want to know exactly where their food came from. This really isn’t a new thing to those of us who have hunted for generations and grown gardens in our backyards. We want the non-hunting public as allies in the future and four out of 10 people attempting to poach a buck after the season closes won’t likely keep them on our side.

We can’t have 40% of hunters giving the rest of us black eyes in the fights that are looming over head. This month we have had more people who would normally resist delisting of any animal, say that the time has come to delist the Yellowstone grizzly bear population. For those of us who live in grizz territory it is time. For the sake of the bear, it is time. They continue to expand their range and when push comes to shove, bears on agricultural property are not usually the ones who walk away. They typically end up tagged, relocated, and when they have had more than one incident they are destroyed. This is a no win situation for anyone involved.

Hunting seasons won’t fix every conflict that we have with grizzly bears, but it certainly won’t hurt either. When poaching incidents like this happen we look like blood-thirsty animals who believe we are above the law and must kill every animal we come in contact with. You and I know that to protect our hunting heritage and see it continue to grow these poaching incidents have to be stopped. With the bulk of the voting public consisting of non-hunters, we must do better to help the general public have a more favorable opinion of hunters and hunting seasons and 40% of hunters shooting at a deer out of season isn’t going to accomplish this.

Good luck the rest of you who still have tags in your pockets!

GuySig-1 (1)

About Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief

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Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy has taken up the reins and is now at the helm of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and the Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal. A fine hunter in his own right, Guy has taken several trophy animals and has become an expert in trophy hunting as well.

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  1. Amen! That statistic is alarming. No wonder we hunters get a bad rap with the general public. When 40% of us will blatantly take a shot 3 days after the season closed, it’s time for a “come to Jesus” moment! Hunters (and I use that term loosely, as those people are poachers, not hunters), please pay attention to the rules, use your not-so-common sense, and stay on the moral high-ground!!!! If you don’t, we’ll all be fighting for the right/privilege to hunt in the future…

  2. problem is the people reading this article are likely not the ones involved in behavior like these – you are likely preaching to the choir. Not sure what the answer is. Tough penalties / enforcement would be a good start.

  3. I have OSP on speed dial in my phone and ask for biz cards of every officer I come in contact with so I have their data for email or calls, to turn in poachers or violators.

    These a$$ clown slobs taking shots at a deke 3 days after season are not HUNTERS, they are POACHERS plain and simple.
    They should have had their rigs, guns, and all gear confiscated, and be forced to shank it back to civilization. That’l make em think about it a while, and how to explain to their friends and wives how come they lost all their gear.

    Laws are laws and we need to really stiffen the fines and make forfeiture of gear mandatory if used in combination with poaching violations.

  4. Hopefully this will help curb what has been a long term problem on that road. I don’t know how close the decoy was to the state line but my bet is most of those who shot were ID hunters as the ID general deer season was open. Not an excuse by any means, guys drive that road with ID tags in their pocket and can’t help themselves when they roll into WY and see a deer. The penalties should be much stiffer, we all know the G&F could use the extra revenue!

    • That’s a tough one. If they harvest a buck in Wyo and drive it home to ID, they would be in violation of the Lacey Act, prohibiting transport of game animals across state lines that were taken in violation of state law. That’s a federal crime, and I’m thinking would result in felony charges!

  5. “People who don’t hunt really (could care less) about the size of the antlers on the animal we harvested but they do care about the ethics that we employed harvesting our trophies.” So, people who don’t really hunt actually could care less? Try using the word, not, as in; “People who don’t hunt really could NOT care less about the size of the antlers on the animal…” It sounds completely ignorant the other way.

    • Oh-Oh, the grammar police are out in force. Who cares? I got Guy’s meaning OK.
      It’s true however that the poachers are becoming more and more common. I came across a calf Moose standing next to it’s mother’s gut-pile this year. I brought it to a warden’s attention. It’d be nice to hear that they caught the creep who gave this calf a death sentence this winter. They didn’t give out too many antlerless tags in the area. It shouldn’t be hard to collar the poacher.

  6. Great article, but I wish the author had not labeled these poacher’s as hunters. Hunting season was over.

  7. Appreciate the article. It does focus on the negative image it leaves about all hunters. Also, other issues are really starting to turn public sentiment about fair chase hunting like aircraft spotting and scouting as well as long range shots. Both of these can’t be considered fair chase and are quickly hurting both image and populations of trophy game hunting. Especially the long range shots cannot be fair chase as the animal has no way of using its instincts to compete.

  8. Agree with jimmy- the guys doing this are not reading Eastman’s Hunting Journal. Don’t call them hunters- call them poachers. No excuse maybe it is the economy and people needing to eat for the winter.

  9. I read that 40% story in a Game and Fish newsletter! That is very sad! Those people should be getting hefty fines and loss of hunting privileges! I’ve heard some of them are claiming entrapment and trying to get off, which is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard. Chances of them running into a real buck they would shoot in an area closed to hunting is very good. They were out hunting, and obviously willing to shoot a deer in a closed area. Give em a swift kick between the legs while you’re at it!

    • Poachers don’t worry about losing their “Hunting Privileges”. Fine them, take the weapon used and then add a jail sentence for second offenses.

  10. Unfortunately, they are hunters whether you want to admit it or not. It also isn’t very hard to find quite a few hunter on Internet forums that will defend this kind of behavior. The defenders will use the logic that it’s only a deer or they are just trying to feed their family. Unless state game official are willing to drastically increase the penalties this behavior will only continue. Although there are states with seizure laws for weapons and vehicles, they are very rarely enforced. To truly stop this vehicles, weapons and equipment must be seized, plus additional fines and mandatory jail time. Currently, the punishment is a slap on the wrist for the perpetrators and a big slap in the face for the honest hunters that abide by the rules.

  11. After the season is closed makes them poachers, why are they driving around with a gun after the season is closed. To Poach game. The other 60 % where thinking they might see him next year.

  12. Start cracking down first and foremost by ostracizing horrible representive and twice-convicted serial poacher Ted Nugent. (not to mention draft dodger)

    • They word out is that he did not know that Alaska had a wounding law similar to Africa. I for that matter did not either. He then took another bear (on video), and tagged it as his first bear. Alaska later notified him of his violation, and he made amends, payed for his mistake, and made a public statement about his mistake.
      The average guy would have just done what his guide told him to do, and went on.

      The draft dodging thing?? Did you see his draft notice?? That’s for him to live with every time he shakes a vets hand.

    • You can always spot the pretend hunter who is really a paid animal rights moron spreading dis information to break hunters up. Most likely with name like Stoner you can fill in the blanks of what this idiot is really doing on this page.

      • Free Spirit you’re a idiot. “Oh my look at this guys name it means hes a dip shit” or really its his last name. Idiots like you are why I dislike most hunters. Go back to your house, watch a Nascar race, fry up something, beat your wife then complain about how you dont make enough money at your job because you didnt go to college.

        • Funny how anti-hunters ghost around hunting websites, but hunters,and gun owners never go to anti’s websites. Guys you can see the futility in their shrill scream, just like a female coyote in heat.
          I cannot understand how an anti hunter can be online during daylight hours, and accuse others of not working, or going to college. Must be using his I Phone, and the free Wi Fi, while on break at a fast food resturant

          • Actually, I was waiting on some 4″ pipe to arrive. I am a single hand rig welder who on average puts in 100+ hours a week. I also hunt and fish when I find the time. So once again thank you for showing how ignorant you “hunters” are.

          • Pipe welder myself. I understand those 100 hour weeks doing 7 12 s now. We both know most welder make more than college graduates anyway. Lol

  13. I cannot, and do not believe that these people are hunters. I say that because I have never wanted to kill, or take game illegally in my life. The idea nauseates me so much, that I cannot view poaching as anything but crime.
    I get buck fever in the tree stand, and get a rush from seeing big bucks from the road, but to stop, pull out a rifle, shoot at an animal out of season, on someone else s property, or worse on public ground, is nothing I would EVER do period.
    The mindset of this kind of person is THIEF, and I would almost guarantee that these people have criminal records showing this trait.
    That is what needs to be televised in Wyoming. The rap sheets on these insects, and their addresses, so all the surrounding area knows they have a criminal in their area.

    My fear is DNR officers do not view these people as criminals, at least from what I hear. They think they are “violators” of game laws. No they are larcenous, felony committing, CRIMINALS

  14. You need not class hunters in the same group as poachers.

  15. They are poachers or game law violators or thieves or criminals…not hunters.

  16. Right on, maybe the game and fish department should just ticket the poacher and not disseminate the incidents so as to give fodder to the anti everything people, Less hunters less funds for wildlife. There will always be poachers as there will always be speeders. Raise the cost to poaching and it will help end it. I’m wondering if the decoy was on a turn in the road, if it was dark, if the hunters just saw the deer, backed up to see a big buck, had no intention of shooting it but like many Wyoming residents, had a rifle in their truck, and were ticketed for just looking. Clearly a violation, but who hasn’t done this before. Did 40% of the traffic on this road actually shoot?

    • 13 vehicles passed the decoy
      10 stopped to look
      4 shot at the decoy

      40 % of vehicles that stopped shot at decoy
      31% of all vehicles shot at decoy

  17. Patrick Stoffal 67 years young and have eatten a lot of Tag soup leaves better taste in the mouth than a large fine that most can't afford & oe have lic. revoked for several years.

    It is better to eat Tag soup than get tag by Dept. of Fish & game my friends

  18. Not surprised. I thought duck hunters were terrible (they are). Then I took up deer hunting. 29/30 groups we ran into this season were blatantly violating Fish & Game and/or Forest Service laws. No shame what-so-ever. Seriously detracted from our experience.

  19. It’s anyone’s guess how many LIVE deer have been shot at or poached in similar circumstances. I’m sure the numbers are staggering. More stings like these should be implemented in every state.

  20. I think one way to deter this activity, is to call the crime “poaching”, and not taking game out of season, or firing a rifle in off season, or hunting without a license. All those crimes are violations. Let the public hear that their neighbor was convicted of poaching, the same kind of activity that is driving rhino, and tigers to extinction.
    It’s that bad, poaching is a crime, and any criminal that does that is stealing from the public, even is his attempt was thwarted. The ungulate population in the US is under extreme pressure from alpha predators that are out of control. Bears, wolves, and coyotes are impacting the numbers. Lay illegal poaching on top of this, and easy to see that impact of less tags, less dollars, less participation in the field by hunters, and more poaching after that.
    This nightmare is being played out in Africa, do we need to have it happen here to understand it’s devastation

  21. This sucks to hear and had no idea it was this bad. I enjoy looking at animals after the season is closed. Especially rutting bucks during elk season. The only thing I shoot them with is a camera though.

  22. In 2008 in Washington state on an extended visit with my grandson, I took him hunting. In the NE corner of the state during elk season we found a cow moos that had been poached. Whoever shot it had only taken the tenderloins & part of a ham. The kill was several days old when we found it. On the way down the road I saw a game warden & flagged him down. He said he hadn’t heard of it, during our conversation it became obvious that he really wasn’t all that interested, but we continued to talk to him about poaching & eventually he did make a note of the location. Now living in Alabama & seeing the results of poaching here I seem to see the same attitude with game wardens here. The problem I think is that they would rather set up stings (I am glad they do it, they are effective), & write tickets for speeders to increase their revenue, but to investigate these reporting’s seems to be to dangerous for their blood. After all the poachers are carrying guns too, & well we can hardly expect a game warden to take a chance of being shot at can we. I do realize we have some very dedicated game wardens out there, but all to many think there job should only be to sit in the office & write reports. That’s one hell of a way to manage our game in the field, & the problem starts at the top with the heads of our state game departments & how they are doing their hiring. It shouldn’t be about who you know or your buddies kids.

    • That is my fear, that these crimes are viewed as rule violations, and not true crime. I have heard Alaska is vigilant on poaching kills, and even does autopsy to retrieve bullets.
      But, other states I never hear of such a detailed response. This angers me, because if a hunter kills a grizzly in self defense the DNR has a trial to scrutinize the hunter regardless of state.
      In my home state I witnessed a trespasser shoot a deer, confronted the hunter, exposed his lie, and informed the land owner. Land owner informed DNR, officer came took report, then proceeded to drive into the back 40 to get my statement. With his truck in front of my treestand I told him I could show him the gut pile. He stated he had an idea who this was, and drove away.
      I figured this guy would get a ticket, and lose his deer. Justice in my view. A week later found out from land owner, that the DNR officer knew the violator from previous wildlife violations, had in fact seen a deer in his garage hanging, did not prosecute violator because landowner did not want to. In my state the DNR does not have to have landowner consent to enforce trespass, or any other violation.
      This same DNR officer had no problem getting a warrant to find pheasants in some guys freezer that same year. I have to believe that they do not take poaching seriously, unless it makes headlines. That hurts the hunting fraternity, and couple that with misguided tag allotments for deer, and elk the DNR is slowly becoming the anti-hunters best ally. The entry of liberal DNR staff into the system added into this mix, and it is not hard to see our future is threatened as hunters.
      We need to get our house in order before its too late.

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