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Poach and Pay

A Boone and Crockett Club Program Researching the Processes for Calculating Current Poaching Fines and Providing Assistance to Increase Poaching Penalties in the Future
By Jon Gassett , B&C Professional Member In 2020, the Boone and Crockett Club, in partnership with the Wildlife Management Institute, initiated a comprehensive study of the illegal take of big game in the United States. The goals of this effort are to better understand the difference between...
The Boone and Crockett Club and Wildlife Management Institute’s Poach & Pay Program recently completed analysis of early data from surveys of landowners, hunters, and conservation officers in an effort to understand the “Dark Figure” of poaching. Initial research under the Poach & Pay project in 2016 examined and reviewed state restitution systems for illegal take of big game species and found that the judicial systems were the primary obstacle for successfully convicting and punishing poachers.
Sportsmen and women know hunting is not poaching, and that poachers are thieves not hunters. But there is a public perception problem—and perceptions can become reality. Poachers must be held accountable and pay for their crimes. This is what the Boone and Crockett Club’s Poach & Pay Project will address.
Modern fish and wildlife conservation is based on the public trust doctrine (PTD), which establishes a trustee relationship whereby the government holds and manages wildlife for the benefit of the public. Fundamentally, it posits that natural resources are universally important, and that the public should have an opportunity to enjoy these resources, including activities such as fishing, hunting, and trapping. Prior to the adoption of this philosophy, wildlife was often treated as an inexhaustible commodity, with little thought or concern for long term sustainability. As a result, many species suffered under this “limitless supply” philosophy, with some becoming extirpated or even driven to extinction.
MISSOULA, Mont. – During the recent Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) meeting, a Multistate Conservation Grant (MSCG) proposal to provide funding for the Boone and Crockett Club’s Poach & Pay Project was recommended for approval. Coordinated in conjunction with the Wildlife...
“SCI is proud to support the Poach & Pay program and to work with the Boone and Crockett Club in the fight against illegal poaching,” said CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “This program will be critical to our efforts to increase participation in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and promote legal, regulated hunting. Hunters are the first line of defense against poaching, and SCI is excited for this important initiative across the country.”
The Boone and Crockett Club announced today that Federal Ammunition will be supporting the Club’s Poach & Pay project as a Trailblazer in Conservation . The three-year sponsorship agreement will provide consistent support for this critical research and policy project and generally support the Club’s overall conservation mission. For over 130 years, the Boone and Crockett Club has led the way on hunting ethics and the Poach & Pay project continues this tradition in an effort to raise the stakes against wildlife crime.
International Wildlife Crimestoppers, Inc. has joined B&C as a research and media partner in their coordinated efforts against poaching. Through the strategic partnership, the Club is supporting conservation law enforcement and will help IWC promote and continue providing specialized law enforcement equipment to officers. In addition, one key part of this outreach includes IWC’s Wall of Shame trailers, traveling exhibits that educate both adults and our nation’s youth about the differences between poaching and legal, ethical hunting. As part of the partnership, IWC will also be actively engaged in the Club’s Poach & Pay initiative supporting the development of communications materials and connection to conservation officers.
During the annual meeting of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), the Boone and Crockett Club announced its plans to lead a long-term Poach & Pay anti-poaching campaign .
The Boone and Crockett Club’s Poach & Pay project seeks to raise the stakes against poachers. Last week, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism announced on Facebook that a poacher was sentenced to prison and significant fines and restitution. John Blick Jr. of Sharon, Kansas, was found guilty of poaching 60 white-tailed and mule deer. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison and fined $15,000.
It seems these days we are seeing an increasing number of stories about illegally killed game being abandoned in fields or by the side of the highway, deer and elk found rotting with just their heads removed, and dishonest outfitters breaking numerous game laws to get their clients the trophy they seek. When did poaching become OK?
Yes, people do make mistakes, but there is no such thing as illegal hunting; only poaching. Poaching is the illegal take of wildlife by kill or capture. Poaching is often defined as unlawful hunting, as if some kind of subset of hunting, which it is not. Poaching is a crime. Poachers are not...
The Department of the Interior and newly appointed Secretary David Bernhardt signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Vietnam to work more closely to combat the illegal trade in wildlife. The Boone and Crockett Club is in full support of this historic and badly needed escalation in anti-...
Boone and Crockett Club applauds the Maryland Hunting Coalition for the passage of The Poaching Restitution Act of 2016 in Maryland. The Act has been sent to Governor Larry Hogan for signature in to law. The Maryland Hunting Coalition was instrumental in the creation and passage of the Act, which...
Poaching, the illegal killing of game animals and other wildlife is a serious problem and a crime. The targeting of trophy, big game animals is a growing concern. Protecting, conserving and regulating wildlife is becoming increasingly challenging, especially with the value of trophy animals on the...

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-Theodore Roosevelt