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Flagrant Poaching Prompts Call For Tougher Penalties

Flagrant elk-poaching incidents in Owyhee County and now the Salmon area have convinced legislators and sportsmen to call for heavy penalties for those who “steal our wildlife in the night.”

“They should have their equipment confiscated, they should be sent to jail, fined heavily, forced to repay hunters for what they’ve stolen and they should lose their hunting privileges for life,” Idaho Wildlife Federation President Fred Christensen said Wednesday.

Idaho Fish and Game officials said at least 16 elk were killed and four wounded Nov. 10 and 11 in the McCume Creek drainage near Salmon. The mass killing comes just one week after two Oregon men were charged with illegally taking four large bulls near Jordan Valley, Ore.

Sens. James Risch and John Andreason of Boise have agreed to endorse legislation which would carry out the wishes of Christensen, a former Idaho Fish and Game Commission member.

It would include confiscation of poachers’ equipment such as guns and vehicles, provide for lifetime revocation of licenses, and increase both minimum fines and civil penalties to compensate the state for the lost animals.