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Justice not done to poachers

Justice wasn’t done last week when an Oberlin court gave a comparable slap on the wrist to some high-profile poachers.

Hunters and the general public were outraged last December when photos of a trailer heaped with poached trophy-class bucks circulated online.

The pics were of 16 dead deer Wildlife and Parks game wardens confiscated from a Wisconsin group of friends and family ignoring game laws and hunting ethics in Decatur County.

As well as untagged many of the poached deer weren’t field-dressed showing the poachers probably cared little about putting the venison to good use.

Three of the five poachers were accessed $6,100 in fines each last week. The other two have yet to be formally punished.

Sound like a lot? Not in the world of trophy deer hunting. The assorted licenses, permits and stamps total about $500 for a non-resident to legally hunt mule deer in Kansas.

Most good guided mule deer hunts average around $5,000. These poachers barely got fined enough to cover a guided hunt and the required licenses. Not much of a deterrent if you can poach for free and your penalty is the going rate.

The McCook Gazette says they also lost hunting privileges in Kansas for three years. Since Kansas is part of a multi-state wildlife law enforcement compact the poachers will also have lost hunting privileges in about 38 other states.

To be honest that probably hurts the guys more than the amount of the fine.

Then again you have to wonder about the impact of telling convicted poachers that they can’t hunt legally for three years, right?