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The Penalties for Breaking Hunting Laws in the US

Many people don’t realize just how harsh many of the penalties are for breaking the law in regard to hunting, in the US. This is particularly true of people who don’t live in the US, but it is also true for many US citizens, especially those who don’t think hunting should be illegal for any reason. There is a reason there are harsh penalties for breaking the hunting laws in the US, too.

In a number of countries, poaching, or hunting illegally, is a tremendous problem. Poaching does happen in the US as well but to a much more minor degree. That is in large part because of the penalties for violating the law. 

We are specifically talking about violations like hunting out of season or hunting without a hunting license. What happens when these laws are violated? That depends largely on the state.

In the US, the game commission, in conjunction with law enforcement, uses various means of catching law violators. That often includes reports from other hunters who are hunting legally and also from landowners or other citizens.

An investigation is launched when the person is caught. Often using high-tech methods, the criminal is convicted. They are commonly given a heavy fine, jail time, their hunting privileges are revoked for some years, and anything used in the commission of the crime is confiscated and sold at an auction. 

For instance, one man was convicted in Oregon of killing a deer out of season, killing a deer without a license, and illegal transportation of a deer. He was fined $5,000, ordered to spend 6 months in jail, lost his hunting privileges for 3 years, and lost property. That property included three deer rifles, his new pickup, and assorted camping gear that was inside the pickup at the time of the crime. 

This may sound harsh, but it is the sort of thing that goes a long way toward discouraging poaching and the violation of other hunting laws. The laws are rigidly enforced, too. It can also be mentioned that quite a few people have been caught and convicted who thought at the time they committed the crime that there were no other people around. 

The game commission doesn’t mess around. Sometimes they do tend to be a little too heavy-handed, but it is very rare that they can be accused of being too lenient.

  • Question of

    Do you think that these penalties are too harsh?

    • Yes
    • No
    • The penalties should be harsher than this
  • Question of

    Did you realize that hunting violations were punished this harshly?

    • Yes
    • No


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Written by Rex Trulove

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    • They only do that if the vehicle was used to commit the crime. In the cited case, he hauled the dead deer in the back of his truck, so it was used to commit the crime. He also shot the deer from the cab of the truck, so again, it was used to commit a crime. Only one rifle was used to kill the deer, and they knew from ballistics which one it was, but all three were in the pickup and could have been used to kill the deer. That was about $1,800 worth of rifles, plus the ammunition, and as I mentioned, it was a new pickup. It probably cost about 20,000-30,000. If it had been a beat-up old clunker, they still would have confiscated it.


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