Poaching: It’s the most abhorrent crime against nature a human can commit, and being stewards and guardians of nature, something every hunter should condemn. After all, game laws are there for a reason—to maintain an ecological balance in our hunting grounds, maintaining steady wildlife populations and rich, clean environments, while ensuring all outdoorsmen are given equal and fair opportunities to make a clean, ethical kill.
Some, however, pay little regard to those laws and choose to do things their own way under the guise of hunting. Though not real hunters in any modern sense of the word, these outlaws nonetheless give the rest of us ethical hunters a bad rap.
So a while back, we at Petersen’s Hunting started a semi-regular feature called the Dumbest Poacher Awards, in which we point out some of the more moronic, head-scratching moments in the illegal taking of game. From ignorance to outright greed, we’ve done our best to separate the lawbreakers from the rest of us just trying to legally put some organic meat in the freezer. Here are some of the highlights of the Dumbest Poacher Awards; while some may have been around before we started handing out awards, they are certainly deserving of a spot in our lowlight reel.
- In 2011, four Tennessee men were arrested on charges of illegally killing "hundreds" of deer by sneaking into Fort Campbell, which the state had closed to hunting for munitions training. The illegal activities were first discovered after wildlife and local law enforcement officials on Fort Campbell confronted two men who had been spotted entering the closed area, apparently undeterred by the fact that live munitions were fired there.
Jim Edward Page, 43, and Curtis Wallace, 45, were caught by police and admitted to trespassing. The initial charges led to further investigation that revealed the involvement of two other men—Wendell Taylor, 43, and Gregory Crokarell, 41—and as many as 41 deer mounts and antlers. As part of a plea agreement, Wallace lost his hunting privileges for seven years, was fined $2,500, received one-year probation and ordered to surrender his mounts, in addition to federal charges.