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How Should You Deal with Poachers?

From rogue “hunters” who exceed bag limits to criminals who sneak out to kill deer at night in the off-season, all types of poachers do significant damage to wildlife, property, and our collective reputation as outdoorsmen.

There are some right steps to take to bring these low-lifes to justice — and just as many mistakes you can make that might exacerbate the situation. When you think a poacher is up to no good near you, here’s how to action:

Join forces with your neighbors. Don’t fall into the trap of feuding and competing with your hunting neighbors. Instead, look out for each other and work together to tackle trespassing and poaching problems. More sets of eyes on the lookout for criminal activity means a greater chance of preventing it altogether.

Make sure your land is clearly marked according to state regulations. Some states allow for painted boundary markers, or you can hang signs high so poachers and trespassers can’t easily tear them down. If it’s been a while since you updated your boundary lines, survey the property for damaged or missing markers and replace them immediately.

Employ (well-hidden) trail cameras to catch them in the act. Hang trail cameras and/or security cameras high in trees and angling down to capture criminals breaking the law. Make sure they’re well-camouflaged so poachers don’t steal them or even see them. Cellular trail cameras can come in handy here.

Document any suspected poaching activity and evidence. Whether it’s on your personal property or public ground, take note of everything you observe that’s not quite right — meat left to waste, the sound of gunfire at night, individuals walking into the woods with weapons out of season, etc. Jot down a vehicle description and license plate number or better yet snap a photo if the poachers parked nearby. Every little detail can help.

Always contact your state wildlife agency. Don’t let your ego get in the way. While it might be tempting to take matters into your own hands, the experts recommend you don’t confront the offenders yourself. The situation could escalate quickly and be potentially dangerous for you and your property. Instead, reach out to your state wildlife agency and/or local law enforcement and share your documentation with them. Some states even have dedicated tip lines for these types of violations. It’s also smart to establish a good relationship with wardens and other officials before problems arise so it’s easier to get a timely response when the poachers come around.

15 thoughts on “How Should You Deal with Poachers?”

    • RidgeRunner,

      What carcasses?
      Property Patrolled by Hannibal Lector.
      Signs properly posted of course and provide a short Public Interest piece for local radio station.
      Violators will be EATEN!
      Poachers will try but if landowners stand together and apply legal severe and prompt reaction with fair notice. That works in most states other than California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and a few other states where they don’t respect what is yours anyway..
      Weak response to poachers just makes the situation bad for all concerned
      The Castle Doctrine applies on posted land in most C.D. states know what the laws are and act.

      shootski

    • Had a great friend, a veteran of the 101st AB, unfortunately no longer with us, who had a sign inside his garage which read thus: “Is there life after death? Trespass here and find out!” Along those lines, here is a suggestion for one, which fits right into the bowhunting theme: “You don’t want to be here without permission unless, like Custer, you wanna wear an Arrow Shirt.” Think poachers would get the point of that?

      Let’s just be careful out there.

  1. RK

    good advice,, particularly that about not taking into your own hands. The more who are aware of the infraction, the less likely of a vendetta starting. Very often the ones committing the acts are people who live close to where they do them. Which means that they may have more eyes and ears than you do.

    Pretty much everyone has a phone that takes pictures, Its pretty hard to argue against that kind of evidence. The game wardens have a tough job and usually a lot more ground to cover than they can handle. A little help couldn’t hurt.

    Ed

  2. The truth is, there are two kinds of poachers. Here in the Appalachians, I have seen both. You have the ones that will hunt and kill big bucks just to cut off their heads for trophys and leave the meat to rot and feed the buzzards, I do not have any use for that bunch. They are the ones whose carcasses should be left to rot and feed the buzzards. There are no racks hanging around at my house.

    Then there are those who are desperate to feed their families. No jobs. No handouts. Back during the Great Depression, wild game almost became extinct back in these hills. My Grandaddy took care of his wife and seven children, plus helped the local widows and old folk all he could. People helped each other. to survive. Good Ol’ Uncle Sam wasn’t around to help.

    I grew up in these hills, helping to feed my family. I quit hunting back in the 80’s because I no longer needed to do such to feed my family. If things were to get hard for me again, I would go back to it. There is no season when you are hungry.

  3. Damnit all! Now ya’ll done went and got me ta thinkin”! I find I do not like this “Bow Bully”. He does not need to hunt.
    He likes to hunt because he likes to kill things. He might eat what he kills, but he does not need to do that. I’ll bet there are a bunch of heads hanging around in his house and I will bet he did not eat all of them.

    • RR
      What I see is anybody that has grown up or been around land already knows what The Bull Bully has been writing about.

      There is probably good in it. Maybe the people that never had land can get smart and learn they shouldn’t be in places if not given permission. I’m not going to give any details here but all I know is when I was a kid I didn’t go to a place I wasn’t suppose to be. And likewise, people probably should beware if they were somewhere they shouldn’t be.

      All around where I lived there was good fishing ponds and lakes on people’s property. There was a locked wooden box with a slot cut in the top. You was suppose to drop a quarter or dollar bill in the slot and you could fish. But if the owner. Usually the farmer came around checking while you was fishing if you didn’t drop any money in the box and it was empty you was going to get a good lecture and the farmer would drop a quarter in the box and would tell you to enjoy yourself and keep fishing. But next time your here you better drop your quarter and somebody else’s and point them in the right direction to do the same. And to say them farm ponds always had the biggest fish.

      And we had some poaching going on here last year. The farmer seen the red glowing knocks on the arrows when they shot. He was setting on his front porch and they was about 50 yards towards one side of the house. He made some calls and everybody waited till they came back to thier truck and of course the authority was sitting right along side. Back in the old days when I was young it would of went a bit different. But you know how that goes. Times keep on changing.

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