Missouri increases fines for poaching

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Last week, Governor Mike Parson signed a new law raising fines for individuals convicted of poaching Missouri game animals and native other wildlife.

According to records from the Missouri Department of Conservation, 547 wild turkeys, 58 paddlefish, and 4,731 deer were poached in 2017 and 2018.

Representative Jered Taylor (Republic) and Senator Mike Bernskoetter (Jefferson City) sponsored HB260. Supporters of the bill said the state’s poaching had been too low.

The bill gained traction after five Missouri elk were killed by poachers in recent. None of the cases have been solved. Black bear poaching incidents have been a growing concern as well.

New fine amounts include $10,000 to $15,000 for each elk or black bear killed illegally, $1,000 to $5,000 for each white-tailed buck, $500-$1,000 for each wild turkey, and $500 to $1,000 for each paddlefish.

The new fines will go into effect on August 28. The money collected from the fines will go to the state’s school money fund.

The Missouri Department of Conservation asks that anyone with information on poaching cases call the Operation Game Thief at 1-800-392-1111.

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