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Missouri Lawmaker Fights for Tougher Poaching Penalties

poaching penalties
Photography by Justin Hoffman

Missouri’s poaching penalties are considerably lower than many other states. One Republican lawmaker wants that to change.

Donna Lichtenegger, a Republican state lawmaker from Cape Girardeau County, would like to see large restitution fines for wildlife poachers, and has prefiled a bill in hopes of new laws being passed. The bill, named HB 46, would see monies collected put into the state’s school fund.

The amounts Lichtenegger is calling for are as follows, as a dollar amount per animal:

  • Wild Turkey – $750
  • White-Tailed Deer – $1,500
  • Black Bear or Elk* – $3,500

* There is no hunting for black bear or elk in Missouri.

Lichtenegger has said she is willing to increase those dollar amounts even higher than stated in the bill, but will not go any lower, and hopes other lawmakers will support heftier fines for those found guilty of wildlife crimes.

“I don’t think our fines are high enough for people who poach,” Lichtenegger said. “I have 600 acres and I’m tired of people coming onto my property and poaching animals. For people who own land and don’t live on it, this is dangerous. Not only are they trespassing, but they’re shooting things out of season.”

One high-profile poaching case from earlier in 2016, in which the poacher was fined a paltry sum of $99.50 for the unlawful killing of a black bear, raised concerns for many and was subsequently the catalyst for an online petition started by a citizen. You can find that petition here.

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Missouri Lawmaker Fights for Tougher Poaching Penalties