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What is a poacher?

Wed, October 27, 2010

What is poaching to you?  According to dictionary.com, poaching is this:

1. to trespass, esp. on another’s game preserve, in order to steal animals or to hunt.
2. to take game or fish illegally.

    The reason I am bringing this up is that it frustrates me to no end what so many sportsmen will do without considering their actions poaching.  Poaching has a very negative connotation to the sportsman, and rightfully so.  However, I believe many people only consider poaching to be sliding out at night with a high-powered rifle and a spotlight in order to shoot a deer.  That is not how I see it at all.
    I feel that any law broken to make it easier to take game is poaching.  In Illinois, this could mean bow hunting during the youth shotgun season without wearing blaze orange.  I know people that go to their stand during shotgun season and as soon as they get there, they shed their orange.  It could mean sitting in your stand five extra minutes after shooting hours because you can still see your sights.  Even putting out that mineral rock during the summer to get better trail cam photos is still poaching because it enables you to illegally draw deer in to an area to see what might be lurking on your property.  Some people even think it is no big deal to hunt over bait.  I have even heard it     said that planting a food plot is no different than baiting.  There is one huge difference…baiting is illegal in Illinois and those who do it are poachers!
    Most people I know claim that they hunt for self-satisfaction.  Let’s face it, only a small percentage of people can make a living from the sporting industry.  The rest of us do it because we love the challenge of the hunt.  If we cheat to gain a competitive edge on the animals we are hunting, what have we accomplished?  If the laws being broken are minor, ticky-tack laws and we feel that it doesn’t give us a big advantage, then why break the laws in first place?  I compare this to baseball’s steroid users.  Their apologists will say that steroids do not make that big of a difference.  If they do not make a big difference, then why would somebody risk their reputation and career to use them?  How many people would go out and play golf by themselves, and then cheat to shoot a better score?  If you would not do it in a round of golf, then do not do it in the tree stand either.


I think its anytime you participate in hunting in a manor that is directly illegal or likely to lead to illegal activities.  For instance i have a poacher that sits right on my property line over an open field.  Actually 3 feet off the line in tiny trees.  This is legal.  What isnt are the 3 or 4 arrows ive found sticking out of the ground on my side of the fence.  And the many trail camera pics i have of him tracking deer on my side of the fence.  And his family admitting to going on our side of the fence when they ” hit a deer”.  His actual hunting is legal but everytime he shoots… he becomes a poacher because 90 percent of the deer will die in my woods. And he knows that when he starts the hunt.  If you are 50 to 100 off the line ill help you track in my woods but this isnt the case.  And he has shot an avg of 12 plus deer a year in there according to good sources.  So likely hes poached around 30 deer plus in the past 3 years.  I dont see poaching so much as mineral blocks and not wearing orange.  A mineral blocks are nothing more than a gimic in this state and simply a poor ethical choice.  And if you are talking about hunting 5 minutes after hours… you are getting pretty picky.  Its illegal but probably wouldnt be make you a poacher in my book.  I dont want to label 90 plus percent of the hunters poachers.  And nearly EVERYONE has done something illegal in the woods at some point. A few years ago i watched a young kid maybe 18 shoot a 160 class ten across the line with a gun.  I dont consider this one time mistake a poacher… i consider this a huge ethical decision in which the kid made the wrong one.  Repeating this… makes him a poacher.

Posted by clintharvey on October 27

Maybe I am being too picky.  Maybe I was just in a grouchy mood yesterday…who knows.  I just get aggravated when people make a conscious decision not to follow the law when hunting.  How proud can you be when you cheat to get your trophy.

Posted by shootist on October 28

CLINTHARVY, we have a similar person in our area here in Woodford Co. Property lines/fence lines mean nothing to him. This young man has been seen on most of the neighbors properties at one time or another, but nothing is said because he is a neighbor also. Several years back on the last day of the last shotgun deer season of the year he shot a doe with a nonlethal hit to the hind leg (on property he did have permission to hunt). She crossed onto our property and I dropped her. It wasn’t long before he came running over screaming that it was his deer because he shot her first. I ended up giving it to him. I found out later it was his fifth deer of the year. I ended up with none in the freezer. Some people have no respect.

Posted by flint on October 28

That’s a very good question Darin. There’s a legal definition and then there’s an ethical/moral definition. With newer technology that lets you see your pins and aim your bow better in low light conditions, I’ve already heard of a number of kills this archery season that have happened outside of legal shooting hours. Even if it weren’t illegal, it’s still an ethical question as to how certain you can be of your shot when you can barely see the deer. I wouldn’t want to risk it.

Posted by Walston on October 28

FLINT, if this guy crossed the fence and wanted a deer i just shot… he would be in jail.  We are in a BAD poaching county.  Its amazing how bad it is here really alot of hillbilly types that do it nightly.

Posted by clintharvey on October 28

Our rule of thumb is if the deer is shot with a gun then the one that kills it keeps it.  If a deer comes by that has been shot during bow season then the guy who shot it first keeps it.  Also, you must always get permission from the land owner before you can track a deer on their property.  I have all of the surrounding land owners phone numbers in my phone.  You always owe it to the deer to reduce suffering.  However we feel it is only fair to give the deer to the bowhunter that may be tracking the deer after it has been shot.  With the gun you better put it down or risk losing it to a better shot on the neighboring property.

Posted by greenhornet on October 28

In terms of archery, I’ve always heard it was the guy who put the fatal hit on the deer.  If a deer walks by you with a leg hit and you double lung him, I believe he is yours.  It’s all just common sense, respect, and decency I think.  There are many ways to define a poacher, but I think we all know one when we see one.  The five minutes after legal light is a bit picky…I sure wouldn’t put that guy in the same poaching category as the guy who spotlights and shoots.  That would also mean that everyone who walks to his stand in the morning 31 minutes prior to sunrise is a poacher unless the bow is cased.

Posted by Treehugger on October 28

Tree - I think your ok as long as it is not nocked, same as your gun as long as it is not loaded your ok.

Posted by BIGPOND on October 28

Ethical hunters are fewer every year it seems.  If you break a game law in my opinion, you are a poacher.  Follow the rules and you’re OK.  Plain and simple.  Some people will always do whatever it takes to get their antlers, I just like to hunt.  If I get a shot at a big buck then so be it.  If I don’t well the sun will still come up in the morning and I can go hunt again.  I hunt public ground so I don’t have to worry about fence riders, but that is wrong in my opinion.  Again, this is where ethics comes into play. 

Posted by Andy Meador on October 28

Cmon Darin. You should be a lawyer as picky as you are!  I would argue hunters are MORE ETHICAL now than ever before. Remember 20 or 30 years ago? It was nothing to just walk from property to property squirrel or rabbit or deer hunting without asking permission. Nobody cared, and nobody asked. Nowadays MOST people stick to property lines very well.

Posted by SpikeBuck on October 28

I caught a guy picking tomatoes from my garden last week.  I suppose he was poaching too.  Maybe I’ll just put up a high fence.  Unbelievable.

Posted by PETA on October 28

PETA…..People for the Eating of Tasty Animals?

Posted by Treehugger on October 28

BIGPOND, I’m not 100% sure, but I think your bow has to be made inoperable (zip tie around a cam) or cased to be completely legal.  When I used to hunt WI, we had to take our cases right to our stands because the game wardens there were just looking to nail someone with IL plates on some minor infraction.
SPIKE, I agree with you.  People are much more ethical and legal these days.  Some of the old stories I hear crack me up with the stuff that used to go on.  That being said, the true poacher and trespasser is, in my humble opinion, the scum of the earth.  You all know who they are….the spot lighters, the trespassers, the camera and treestand thieves, etc…

Posted by Treehugger on October 28

PETA   Long time no see!  Missed you at the cookout.  Those tomatos were good, sorry I had to run.  We were going trapping and I was running late. 

If you put up a high fence will you post pictures of the tomatos on the web so I can select the biggest one and pay you to video taping me harvesting it?  That would be sweet!!!

Posted by Andy Meador on October 29

Tree never gave it much thought before, but thought I’d check it out. Found short blib in regs.
“GUN AND BOW REQUIREMENTS DURING NON-HUNTING HOURS” It is unlawful to carry a loaded gun or a bow with a nocked arrow in the field except during legal hunting hours.

Posted by BIGPOND on October 29

Sounds like you can carry a bow uncased.  Thanks for the info.

Posted by Treehugger on October 29

Its clearly getting worse.  had a tresspasser with a cross bow on a property line of a buddy last night with his son driving deer out of my buddies woods

Posted by clintharvey on October 29

So would using cheese in a mouse trap be considered poaching (in the form of baiting)?

Posted by PETA on November 06

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