This may be the biggest squirrel poaching bust ever.
One of the most common violations for a conservation officer to deal with is someone going over the legal limit. Officers with the Missouri Department of Conservation recently dealt with a case that may be the biggest squirrel poaching bust ever anywhere.
In a post on their Facebook page, the MDC reported Agents Brad Hadley and Eric Long got a tip about a group of non-residents who were squirrel hunting in the Current River Conservation Area and surrounding locations. The tip ended up being a good one as the officers quickly discovered the group of 16 had taken 471 squirrels over the prior two days.
There was a big problem with that. Missouri's daily harvest is 10 squirrels per hunter. And hunters are only allowed to be in possession of two daily bag limits or 20 squirrels at a time per person. This meant the alleged poachers were 151 animals over the limits. These extra squirrels were confiscated to be held as evidence pending a court hearing. All 16 members of the party were cited for going over the limit on squirrels.
Missouri's game laws also require game is separate and identifiable to each hunter in the group. Officials issued warnings to the group for not doing that with all the animals they had harvested.
The names of the hunters involved in the incident were not immediately released by the MDC, nor was the state they traveled from to commit the violations. Although they did release a photo of the hundreds of squirrel carcasses laid out on tarps during the investigation. It appears the hunters had already cooked or smoked many of the squirrels prior to being caught by investigators.
The MDC thanked the observer who tipped them off to the over-the-limiters and reminded other sportsmen and women to call in possible wildlife violations to Missouri's Operation Game Thief Line at 1-800-392-1111.
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