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Maryland Looking to Substantially Increase Private Land Deer Poaching Fines

Travis Smola

These proposed rule changes will apply to private land deer poaching cases only.

Anyone convicted of poaching a deer in Maryland in the future may feel the punishment worst in their wallet if a new bill is passed.

The Times-News reports Senate Bill 266 that was introduced to the Maryland General Assembly may push restitution for poaching a deer up to $20,000 depending on the size of the deer.

“Poaching is a real problem on private land and we felt like we needed fines large enough to get poacher’s attention,” Senator John Ray Salling said.

The new regulations proposed in the bill not only outline larger fines, but also tack on community service as part of the punishment. In fact, the fines are higher if a convicted poacher refuses to do the community service.

The size of the punishment will depend on a buck’s Boone and Crockett score. A fine of $2,000 to $5,000 and 80 hours of community service are the proposed punishment for killing a buck that scores 150 or lower or a doe. If they refuse the community service, the fine jumps substantially, to between $4,000 and $10,000.

It seems the bill’s supporters really want to dissuade someone who might be tempted into poaching a buck that is larger than normal. If the buck scores over 150 inches, the fine increases to $5,000 to $10,000.

If a poacher convicted of shooting a buck larger than that refuses the community service, they will be subject to fines between $10,000 and $20,000 to be determined by the judge.

These new laws would apply to people convicted of poaching on private land only. Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association Member and Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission member Joe Schroyer believes such a restitution law should apply for all areas and not just private property.

“If you are going to protect a quality animal it should be protected everywhere in the state,” Schroyer told the Times-News.

Perhaps in the future Maryland will expand the proposed punishments to apply to all poaching, but for now, the bill is scheduled for its first reading February 9. One thing is for sure at the moment, you can’t accuse Maryland of not taking the problem of poaching seriously.


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Maryland Looking to Substantially Increase Private Land Deer Poaching Fines