Today while watching one of the hunting shows on TV I saw them hunting Buffalo in Africa, they were in the middle of their stalk when the bulls ran off into the bush, they were very frustrated because they thought they had been going everything right, then they caught a poacher coming threw the brush and blamed him for the problem. Now this guy had a home made rifle and I mean home made, the barrel was a piece of pipe. They made a big thing of him being a poacher and how lucky he was that they caught him and not the game wardens or he would have been shot on sight . They would have to stop the hunt and turn him in to the court where he could get from 1 to 15 years in jail. His crimes included having a gun and a flashlight while trying to feed his family.
I have no sympathy for someone who kills and leaves the animal or just takes a trophy and leaves the rest to rot, but this guy was feeding his family and his crime seemed to be that he wasn’t paying the government for the right to do so.
Can you imagine seeing game around you and your family being hungry and someone saying you can’t hunt the game?
I have been to Africa several times on hunts in 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1994,1999, 2003, 2005, and 2008, and I have seen several animals hurt by snares and wounded by poachers I was even involved in the capture of several poachers in 1991. After seeing the homes and families of the poachers I insisted they be let go. These people weren’t selling rhino horns or ivory they were trying to survive. You wouldn’t catch my fat old butt out in the bush without a very large caliber rifle and these people were out their with spears and snares.
I guess my point is that not all poachers are the cold blooded animal killers the environmentalists would like us to believe some are just trying to feed their families. And a man shouldn’t get 1 to 15 years in the can for that.
As a registered professional environmental engineer I have dealt with poachers for most of my life. Here's you some poachers and I guess y'all will find some of your friend and relatives amongst them.
Watermen charged in illegal striped bass sales
State, federal investigators uncover extensive poaching ring in Md., Va.
By Candus Thomson
January 31, 2009
State and federal investigators have broken up a black market involving watermen and fish dealers who sold millions of dollars' worth of striped bass, illegally taken from the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, to shops and restaurants across the country, according to court documents filed in federal court this week.
Four Maryland watermen, one Virginia waterman, two Washington fish dealers and an upscale Georgetown fish market have been named in criminal complaints, and officials said more are expected. In addition, two St. Mary's County watermen were indicted by a federal grand jury last fall for their part in the poaching scheme, which law enforcement officials in Maryland and Virginia say is the largest ever.
The timing couldn't be worse for Maryland. On Monday, the region's fishing regulatory agency is to meet in Alexandria, Va., and state officials fear that the news could trigger harsh penalties that would cripple the multimillion-dollar commercial fishing industry in the Chesapeake Bay and drive up retail fish prices.
"These were fish pirates," said a high-ranking Virginia official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the case. "This was racketeering. Computers and records were seized. You're going to see some places go out of business."
The watermen and fish dealers have been charged under the Lacey Act, which prohibits the illegal taking of wildlife in one state for the purpose of selling it in another. Violations of the act carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, plus potential forfeiture of the boats and vehicles used.
Yesterday at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, criminal complaints were filed against these watermen: Thomas L. Crowder Jr., 40, of Leonardtown; John W. Dean, 53, of Scotland; Charles Quade, 55, of Churchton; Keith Collins, 57, of Deale; and Thomas L. Hallock, 48, of Catharpin, Va.
"It's news to me," Dean said when reached by phone yesterday. "It may be me. I don't know." "There have been a whole bunch of plea agreements, but I can't talk to you about it," Crowder said.
Law enforcement sources said individuals have admitted to poaching as much as $1 million worth of fish each over five years. Annually, Maryland's 1,231 licensed watermen account for about 2 million pounds of the 7 million pounds of striped bass legally caught commercially on the Eastern Seaboard. The poaching scheme described in court documents and by sources means that the state vastly exceeded its annual striped bass quota for five years.
Maryland's watermen are required to report their catch at one of about 30 check stations, which are run by volunteers holding fish dealer licenses. Each fish must be tagged before it is unloaded from a boat. The check stations send the information - number of fish and weight of the catch - to the Department of Natural Resources in daily phone calls and file more comprehensive in weekly written reports.
But insufficient tag monitoring and allowing fish buyers to run check-in stations created a loophole that was exploited, Maryland officials acknowledge. "This is a time to be sad about the lawlessness on the bay," said Maryland DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. "There's not a whole lot you can do to sugar-coat it. We toughened the rules last summer, but that obviously wasn't enough. It's become clear we need even more accountability."
The DNR is proposing regulations to tighten monitoring and enforcement of the commercial catch.
Andy Hughes, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association Maryland, called the poaching "both alarming in its scope and tremendously disappointing in that it was not dealt with many years earlier."
"We can't bring back the striped bass that have been stolen from us, but we can learn a lesson," Hughes said. The investigation began in 2003, when Maryland Natural Resources Police tipped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to poaching in the bay and the river. Here's how the scheme worked, according to sources and court documents.
Watermen, like Joseph Peter Nelson, 69, and Joseph Peter Nelson Jr., 45, of St. Mary's County, received additional tags by filing false reports with the state about the number and weight of the striped bass they caught illegally in Maryland waters. After reaching his Potomac River quota, the younger Nelson allegedly began using his tags designated for Chesapeake Bay use. From 2003 to 2006, he also used the commercial license of a waterman referred to in the indictment as "J.R." to secure more tags and falsify that catch.
Instead of carrying out transactions dockside, the indictment says, undercover officers from Virginia Marine Police posing as wholesale buyers took delivery of the fish from the Nelsons or unnamed men listed as unindicted co-conspirators at a private home in St. Mary's County, a walk-in cooler, a parking lot and near a bridge on a county road.
Other watermen joined the scheme, creating a supply of striped bass so vast that poachers and dealers brought workers into fish packing houses after hours to process the catch, sources say.
Both Nelsons have pleaded not guilty and contend that the statements they made to Maryland officers were made before they were read their rights. Louis Fireison, lawyer for the younger Nelson, said he could not discuss the case at this point. Lisa Lunt, lawyer for the elder Nelson, declined to comment. To catch buyers, undercover officers peddled undersized, oversized and out-of-season striped bass.
Court documents show that for four years, beginning in April 2003, Robert Moore and Robert Moore Jr., who own Cannon Seafood Inc., in Washington, sold illegal striped bass and helped other unnamed people buy and sell fish.
Griffin said he hopes to see more joint enforcement efforts on the bay, an idea seconded by Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for Maryland. "This is not the sort of case you can prove by looking at a fish once it's on a plate in a restaurant or somebody's kitchen. You have to actually be there when the fish are caught and when they're sold at the first stage," Rosenstein said. "I hope that this will be a model for other similar investigations because it's really critical that we join forces to pursue these kinds of cases." DNR officials worry that this poaching scheme might eventually lead to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission sanctions. ASMFC Commissioner Pat Augustine of New York predicted that his fellow commissioners "will demand some form of punishment when this hits the table ... that could shut down commercial striped bass fishing in the Chesapeake. Maryland needs to come to the table eating humble pie."
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Re: Poaching or survival
As far as I am concerend, a poacher is an indavidual who has blatant disreguard for the law. He takes the easy way out and kills trophies for sport, fun, bragging rights, money or all of the above while not in season or by gross disreguard for the regulations while in season such as by spot light or an illegal weapon or other illegal meens necesary to bring home the horns.
ANY husband and or father broke and destitute (other than broke and destitute due to stupidity such as gambling issues or drug abuse) trying to provide food for his familiy is a hero.
Most families come upon hard times at some point in their lives. You do what you have to do to survive. Poaching is not surviving, it is stealing. Poachers are thieves plain and simple. Hungry kids are hungry kids and my hungry kids will eat well whether the game is in season or out, albiet I will do everything in my power FIRST to play by the rules.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
That is correct. A person has responsibility to their family.
When a person on this forum spends $5,000 to $8000 to build a custom rifle and another $5,000 to $10,000 to go hunting, they better not claim that they are hunting to feed their family and that it is somehow my fault that there is someone in this world that went to bed hungry.
I saw that same show. That guys was just trying to make it through the day and have a meal. He would have shot a buffalo or a rabbit. Whatever he could have hit with that thing of a gun he would have clearly been happy. It was clear that he was not after horns or a head to mount.
I understand poaching is and has been a big problem there but come on. I don't think he had the option or means to go to a grocery store or a place to get food assistance. The guy looked like hell warmed over. I don't approve of poaching but at the same time I could not blame the guy at all. Not for a minute.