The most discussed form of poaching pertains to Africa, and parts of Asia, but various state laws around the country are very stringent when it comes to American poaching, especially deer. What would constitute deer poaching in Missouri? When it comes to Missouri state law, an example of poaching deer includes shooting a deer from the road and extracting their meat at the kill scene. Numerous deer carcasses have been found around the state, with the heads or antlers removed. Other activities authorities would consider poaching is using headlights or your car to steer deer in a particular direction for the kill, and this applies when using dogs as well.
Deer dogging is the use of dogs to steer deer towards in certain directions such as deer crossings, where other hunters will shoot the animals. This activity is particularly common in Ozark County on the south-central side of the state. It is an activity that is illegal in 39 states, because authorities the practice gives an unfair advantage over other hunters, and these dogs often trespass on private property. But the issue of deer dogging has recently come to the forefront in Missouri when the Circuit Court struck down certain provisions of the Missouri Department of Conservation\'s guidelines for deer dogging, stating that the law itself is too vague.
This case stems from defendants Bobby Jones and Neil Turner, hunters who were busted in a sting operation back in 2008 by the MDC, and this case could find its way up to the Missouri Supreme Court. There have also been other convictions, including a case where 46 defendants have had to collectively pay $69,000 in fines. Standard punishment for poaching in Missouri is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, and repeat violations could result in hunting and fishing privileges revoked.
According to the MDC, there are a variety of poaching signs that law-abiding hunters can be aware of. Such illegal activity includes hunting from the road, or discarding deer parts in isolated locations like rivers. Other illegal activities include using someone else\'s permit to harvest deer and spotlighting game. Signs of poaching could be from sellers who sell deer meat to friends, acquaintances or co-workers, and may collect other animals for sale, such as turtles, snakes or frogs. Also, anyone collecting any type of plant or seed from conservation lands is considered poaching. And lastly, non-resident hunters may try to buy permits for a lower price, and even though this is illegal under state law, hunting without a permit or valid permit is also considered poaching.
Because there has been illegal activity taking place on conversation and government lands, the state of Missouri is going after poachers aggressively. If you see any poaching firsthand, you can call 1-800-392-1111. Rewards can range from $50 to $1,000.