California Implements New Poaching Fines for Trophy Animals

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is cracking down hard on poachers.

Poachers who take deer with antlers 3x3 and greater are subject to a minimum $5,000 fine, and up to a $40,000 fine in extreme scenarios. The new poaching fines come as a result of a poacher who illegally killed a 5x4 black-tailed buck in his vineyard. The poacher then transported the deer to a taxidermy studio in Nevada.

The court ordered him to pay $5,000 plus penalties and fees. However, the poacher fought to reduce his fines to less than $1,000. Despite hiring a lawyer, he still paid the original amount of $5,000. An unhappy hunter turned the poacher in to authorities.

These "trophy bucks" are rare in the Bay Area and Northern California.

"This is the time of year when trophy bucks are most vulnerable," Department of Fish and Wildlife Captain Patrick Foy stated.

He's referring to the period of time between the end of hunting season and when the bucks drop their antlers before growing them again.

Counties are motivated to prosecute similar cases because they'll receive half of the fine to put back into fish and wildlife projects across the state.

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