Poaching continues to be a major issue in Colorado. Some national studies indicate that poachers kill almost as many animals as legitimate hunters do during legal seasons.
If poachers kill even half that number each year, the problem is serious because they are stealing game from licensed hunters, robbing businesses and taxpayers of revenues generated by hunting and depriving us all of a valuable resource--our wildlife. And it's not just game animals that poachers steal--they also kill threatened, endangered and non-game species.
Bob Thompson, assistant chief of law enforcement for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, says most poachers are not poor people trying to feed their families. Some kill for the thrill of killing, others for trophies. Some kill for money--trophy heads, antlers and bear gall bladders can be worth thousands of dollars.
Poaching is the illegal taking or possession of any game, fish or non-game wildlife. Hunting out-of-season or outside of the game management unit for which you have a valid license, hunting at night with a spotlight or taking more animals than the legal limit all constitute poaching. A non-resident who buys a resident license can also be convicted for poaching.
Flock shooting big game is tantamount to poaching since it usually leaves multiple dead and wounded animals.
"Hunters who keep shooting into a herd of animals should realize that not every animal goes down right away when it is hit," said Thompson "Not only is it unethical hunting, it leads to a lot of game waste, which in itself is illegal."
Hunters who witness such violations should report them to wildlife officers, local law enforcement or call Operation Game Thief, a nonprofit organization that pays rewards to people whose tips lead to an arrest being made or a citation being issued to poachers. The number to call is 1-877-265-6648, which also is printed on carcass tags. Tips can also be made to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. More....