Green River Star -

By Joshua Coursey
Muley Fanatic Foundation 

Heinous acts against wildlife rob us of future enjoyment

 


The recent poaching of a well-documented buck mule deer in Rock Springs and another in Green River has caused some angered emotions to elevate among wildlife enthusiasts, and for good reason. To call a spade a spade, this heinous act is quite simply theft and its illegal taking has robbed all of us of the future enjoyment these valued resources are managed to provide.

Wyoming’s wildlife belongs to the people of Wyoming. The illegal taking of such animal is just what I conveyed. This is not a new occurrence and unfortunately it won’t be the last. This isn’t an issue that should get the hunting community riled up alone; this should make everyone who calls God’s perfect square home engaged to the crime and the punishment surely to follow. After all, Wyoming’s wild things and wild places are we so many of us choose to live here.

If we are truly committed to ensuring these criminal acts seize to exist, it starts with the legal system and the punishments being handed down. There will undoubtedly be a slew of potential violations involved with these criminal acts. At the top of the list will most likely be a violation of Wyoming State Statue 23-3-102: Taking of certain game animals without license or during closed season is prohibited. These thieves will face misdemeanor charges that are punishable by a fine not less than $5,000, nor more than $10,000, and imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

If this theft from the people of Wyoming is ever going to be curbed it is time that we as Wyoming residents step up and demand that our legal system impose the maximum fines possible, monetarily and imprisonment. These crimes should not be plea bargained to a lesser offense or a reduced fine.

Paying the fine, while surely an inconvenience to some, is not going to get to the root of the problem. Quite frankly, a sentencing without a minimum of 6 months incarceration is not a stiff enough penalty to be the deterrent necessary to stop future occurrences.

Incarcerated and sitting in a cell block for 6 months will no doubt be an effective deterrent to future thoughts or tolerance by others of these atrocious acts. I am not aware of any employers or mortgage companies that will excuse 6 months of delinquent presence or payments. An example of this, or maybe it will take two, will surely make such acts diminish. In addition, acts such as this should impose a loss of legal hunting privileges for no less than 10 years, if not permanently. Consideration of making a conviction of this violation a Class 6 Felony instead of a misdemeanor would also be worth consideration.

It is a shame that as a society we have reached the point where we must think of more severe consequences in order to deter such criminal acts. Disregard and a lack of personal responsibility seem to be the flavor of the day. Perhaps it’s time to change the menu by showing our appetite for justice has changed. As details of the upcoming legal proceedings become available I would like to encourage as many folks as possible to attend the proceedings. Let’s show by a mere silent presence that we expect justice to be served for the thieving acts that have robbed the consumptive and non-consumptive users of some of its most valued renewable resources.

 

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