Changes could be in store for Minnesota as the governor calls for felony-level punishments.
The Pioneer Press reports that Governor Mark Dayton spoke on his intentions for tougher penalties for poachers caught violating game and fish regulations.
Punishments such as criminal penalties and longer revocations of hunting or fishing privileges were proposed in a talk by the governor in an intent to crack down on poaching.
“The recently reported instances of wanton and wasteful poaching in Minnesota should offend the sensibilities of all ethical and law-abiding hunters and anglers,” Dayton said in a released statement. “They are shameful criminal acts, and they should be treated as serious offenses by Minnesota laws.”
The limits for reaching these tougher penalties could be changed to four or more deer; two or more trophy deer; five or more bears or turkeys; 40 or more ducks, geese, pheasants, grouse or salmon; and 67 or more walleye or northerns. $2,000 has been set as the restitution value of game animals, after which the felony charges would take effect.
“Gross over-limit violations are not accidental,” Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr added in the statement.
There is currently a bill in the state Senate with a 10-year revocation for gross over-limits.
The move comes on the heels of a recent elk poaching incident in northwest Minnesota. The decision to protect the natural resources that belong to Minnesotans has come down hard, but any legislation will still need to move through the typical process before taking effect.