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Old 03-09-2010, 12:59 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default Amid tough times, poaching is on rise in Arizona

Amid tough times, poaching is on rise in Arizona
The nation's crummy economy may be claiming a new class of victims: Arizona's wildlife.
State Game and Fish agents are not certain of the reason, but they've seen a dramatic spike in complaints about wildlife violations and poaching in the past year, and they think an unfavorable economy may have something to do with it.
Their theory: At a time when many Arizonans find themselves in a financial squeeze, some have resorted to the illegal taking of edible game for food, while others are killing for profit. A third group actually may be reporting violators in hopes of getting financial rewards, which also could help explain the notable increase in reports of violations.
Whatever the culprit, this much is clear: There were 768 reports of Game and Fish violations in 2009, up 70 percent from 2008 and more than double the year before that. In 2009, the state also paid a record amount in rewards to people who tipped investigators to violations.
State law covers a wide swath of violations, from exceeding fishing limits to shooting deer out of season. Even oddities like people shooting cattle are included.
The biggest chunk, more than 400, of last year's violations were complaints of illegal big-game killings of deer, elk, black bears, antelope, even a bighorn sheep.
Although there is no clear reason for the increase, Officer Ken Dinquel, head of the state Game and Fish Department program that handles the calls, said that hard times can increase "subsistence poaching" by people looking for cheap food. And when money is tight, the rewards for turning in possible violators may look more attractive as well, explaining the record reward payouts last year.
Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that there is an illicit and lucrative market for things like animal horns, trophy heads, even bear gallbladders, which are sometimes sold as aphrodisiacs.
Worse, some of the violations involve "thrill killing" of animals that are shot illegally and simply left where they lie.
Game and Fish has about 75 officers around the state that handle violations of the wildlife statutes, but Dinquel said they all have other duties, so tips are important. Dinquel and others involved in enforcing hunting and fishing laws believe there is a lot more poaching that is not detected.
"We've got some serious bad guys out in the woods doing evil stuff to wildlife, and a lot of the time, they are getting away with it," Dinquel said. "They are stealing natural resources from you and me."
In Arizona, it is easy for people to get into the backcountry quickly from urban areas. It is equally easy for people who live near the state lines to hop across the line to hunt illegally.
Last December, investigators learned of five poaching cases in northern Arizona, including three near Williams in which two elk and a deer were believed to have been shot from a roadway. All had their heads removed.
The Humane Society of the United States, meanwhile, is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the conviction of those who illegally shot two javelinas near St. David. That's on top of $500 being offered by Arizona Game and Fish. The animals were left to die and had not been butchered for meat.
Citing wildlife statistics, the Humane Society says that for every one of the tens of millions of animals killed legally every year, another is killed illegally. Meanwhile, the group estimates that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught.
Kari Nienstedt, the Humane Society's state director, noted that poaching is a broad term covering any illegal killing of animals. She called it "an enormous problem" that appears to be on the rise across the country, though there is no specific reason why.
The best way to control the problem, Nienstedt said, is to penalize those caught breaking the law. Rewards are an important part of that equation. She also cited the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which lets its more than 30 members suspend or revoke wildlife licenses of people who violate the law in member states. Arizona is a member.
Violators in Arizona are subject to loss of hunting privileges, fines and sometimes jail time. The state can add thousands of dollars in civil penalties if the poached animal is a trophy animal, Dinquel said.
"Frankly, we have some guys paying us 10 or 20 bucks a month for the rest of their lives," he said.
Valley hunting guide Terry Herndon believes some of those violators are commercial poachers looking to sell the meat.
Herndon suggested making penalties much more severe, like taking violators' guns away, seizing their cars, and confiscating any property used in breaking the law. Under current penalties, for example, poachers aren't going to worry much about having a license taken away.
"A poacher doesn't need a license to go kill," he said
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ma
Posts: 451

Things are supposed to be set up that if your hungry you don't have to poach, you go sign up for food stamps. No excuse for poaching.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:57 PM
Twoller Twoller is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,296

It's not about food, it's about money. There is a black market in exotic meat and animal parts. Live animals too can be poached. Rare reptiles and amphibians and even fish for aquariums. Birds too are poached live.

And of course hunting without a license is like driving without a license. If you don't care about the law because you have no business being here anyway, then violating these laws is a leisurely activity to match your leisurely presence in the US.

I prefer to poach my food in a nice meat stock.
The United States of America is for citizens only! Everyone else OUT.
Criminalize asking party affilation for voter registration! End the "two party system"!
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