When it comes to hunters, even just one poacher reflects poorly on us all.
Poaching is a serious offense and states like Arizona are showing they have a zero tolerance policy. Last week, the Arizona Game and Fish Department issued Brandon Balascio 21 citations for poaching javelina, mule deer and mourning doves.
According to an agency news release, wildlife officers cited Balascio with poaching the mule deer from December 12 to 13, north of Redington Road and the javelina from December 17 to 27, near West Ironwood Hills Drive and North Painted Hills Road and off the 2500 block of North Summit Drive. He was also issued citations for the mourning dove offenses which occurred during the same timeframe in west Tucson and Marana.
Mark Hart, spokesman for AZGFD, said social media was critical in identifying Balascio as the suspect in a nearly three-month investigation. Authorities found photos of Balascio posing with animal carcasses on his Facebook account.
In Arizona, the maximum penalty for poaching is six months in jail and a $750 fine for each count. Balascio could also potentially have his hunting and fishing license revoked and face additional civil penalties.
If they suspect wildlife violations, Arizona resident’s are encouraged to report them to the department’s Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700. Unfortunately, poachers like Balascio and others who blatantly violate hunting regulations, only add fuel to the anti-hunters fire.