A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Modern gun season applies to deer only; the poaching of other wildlife still a serious crime

Modern gun season for deer opened this weekend. Outdoors enthusiasts who witness any illegal hunting activity are encouraged to report it to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
“If people have any complaints or see any violations such as trespass or poaching, they are encouraged to call 800-25ALERT (800-252-5378),” said Hank Patton, director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
Patton explained these calls now go through the Kentucky State Police dispatch system and are then routed to conservation officers in the field.
Poaching a deer, elk or bear is a serious crime in Kentucky. Poachers may be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to a year in jail upon conviction. Violators must also pay restitution costs for the animal poached.
“You can be assessed civil penalties in addition to restitution costs and fines,” Patton said. “Poaching a deer, elk, bear, turkey or bobcat in Kentucky is a big deal.”
Convicted poachers also forfeit their hunting privileges for as long as 3 years. “Kentucky is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact,” Patton said. “Loss of hunting privileges in Kentucky results in the loss of privileges in 41 additional states.”
Those who witness and report someone poaching an elk may receive an award as well. “We have a program for those who report an elk poacher,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “They will receive a $1,000 reward upon conviction of the elk poacher.”
If you see someone poaching or committing other wildlife violations, don’t hesitate to report it. Actions that you take now can make for better hunting for everyone in the future.
From F&W

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