A top deer hunting advocacy group says some states don’t do enough to deter poaching, with fines so low and penalties so light they’re doing little to keep illegal hunters at bay.
According to a report published by the Quality Deer Management Association, states like Pennsylvania and Virginia charge poachers as little as $25 for illegal kills, with the Northeast region charging the least of the main U.S. regions at an average of about $280. In its recently-released “Whitetail 2015” report, the QDMA says sates like Iowa, Maine and Wisconsin take poaching seriously, with fines as high as $1,500 and three days in jail.
But the organization argues the fines across the U.S. are inconsistent and need to be standardized to send a stronger message that illegally killing deer is a serious crime.
“Minimum fines are all over the board,” QDMA says. “And in our opinion, [they are] well below the value of loss of that animal to the ethical sportsmen and women who follow the rules, as well as to all citizens who enjoy them.”
QDMA compiled the table below, and recommends that states stop sending mixed messages to poachers and they develop consistent minimum fines for deer poaching that are high enough to act as a real deterrent.
After all, when fines may even be less than a legally acquired hunting license, what kind of message does that send?
We here at Whitetail Journal could not agree more.
|Indiana||$500||$1,000 per deer over 1|
|Kansas||$500||Restitution based on buck antlers|
|Nebraska||$250||Buck $1,500 + $5,000 if over 18-inch spread|
|North Dakota||No Data|
|Ohio||$0||Court determines restitution for illegal kills|
|Delaware||$50||$1,000 for antlered deer|
|Maine||$1,000||Three days jail|
|New Hampshire||$248||Must also pay processing for donation|
|New York||$0||Court determines fine|
|Rhode Island||$500||90 days in jail|
|West Virginia||$20||$200 restitution, $169 court cost|
|Mississippi||$250||Additional court costs|
|South Carolina||no more than $200|
|Texas||$500||Plus restitution of $881|
|Oklahoma||$946||Restitution up to $5,000|