Gov. Mark Dayton, an avid outdoorsman, is calling for tougher penalties in cases of rampant poaching.
He says recent reports of “wanton and wasteful” poaching call for new, harsher punishment. Current law, which calls for a misdemeanor penalty and license revocation of up to five years, isn’t enough.
He wants legislators to toughen the rules by creating a new felony-level penalty for some poaching, along with revocation of game and fish licenses and privileges for up to 10 years.
Says the governor:
“The recently reported instances of wanton and wasteful poaching in Minnesota should offend the sensibilities of all ethical and law-abiding hunters and anglers. They are shameful criminal acts, and they should be treated as serious offenses by Minnesota laws. I ask our state’s sportsmen and sportswomen to join me in urging the legislature to increase the penalties for these disgusting abuses.”
The governor’s plans call for felony charges in gross over-limit cases such as taking:
- Four or more deer
- Two or more trophy deer
- Five or more bears or turkeys
- Forty or more ducks, geese, pheasant, grouse, or salmon
- Sixty-seven or more walleye or Northern pike
DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr agrees:
“This proposal would enact strong and appropriate penalties for those who intentionally disregard the ethical and legal boundaries of hunting and fishing in Minnesota.”
In the meantime, Minnesota has a “Turn In Poachers” (TIP) program for concerned citizens to lodge complaints. The 24-hour, toll-free hotline is (800-652-9093) or cell phone users can dial #TIP to file a complaint.