10 Of The Dumbest Poachers The Outdoors World Has Ever Seen

A man walking on the side of the road

Earlier this week we brought you the 10 Dumbest People To Ever Set Foot In A National Park.

The list was wrought with idiots doing things like burning down trees while smoking meth, getting de-pantsed by a bison, and cooking chicken in a thermal geyser.

While nobody was impressed by the decision making of the folks on that list, the list of the 10 Dumbest Poachers Of All Time has collected an impressive list full of people who may actually somehow have less collective brain cells than the people on the previous list.

Poaching is the illegal hunting of wild animals. Generally that means either hunting without a hunting license, or using an illegal weapon or method to gain an unsporting advantage. Or doing something way dumber than that.

Each state as a comprehensive guide that details what constitutes poaching in nearly every situation imaginable. Many poachers willfully ignore those laws while others are simply too dumb to know what they’re doing.

The one thing that all of these poachers have in common is that they were dumb enough to get caught for their crimes. That means they’re dumb enough to be on this list.

The 10 Dumbest Poachers Of All Time

Honestly, I would have bet money that the #1 poacher on this list would have been a dude, but it’s surprisingly actually woman. And shoutout to Oklahoma for taking home the top two spots.

1. Lady Brags On Dating App To Game Warden About Poaching Crimes.

Oklahoma Game Warden Cannon Harrison was swiping through Bumble, a dating app, when he matched with a less than lovely lady who had photographs of herself alongside a giant buck.

In corresponding messages, the lady excitedly and openly shared her story about spotlighting the deer at night, outside of hunting season. She also bragged about taking the bucks head for a trophy and harvesting only a small portion of the meat. She even sent Harrison pictures to confirm her story.The lady was soon charged with improper possession of an illegally taken animal and taking game out-of-season. She and an accomplice were fined $2,4000

An Oklahoma woman bragged about poaching a deer to impress a man over a dating app. Problem is- the man wasn’t just unimpressed, he is a state game warden. Now she’s facing a HEFTY fine.

“Honestly, the first thing I thought was that it was someone who was messing with me because they knew who I was.”

An Oklahoma woman bragged about poaching a deer to impress a man over a dating app. Problem is- the man wasn't just unimpressed, he is a state game warden.Now she's facing a HEFTY fine.“Honestly, the first thing I thought was that it was someone who was messing with me because they knew who I was.”— Cannon Harrison, game warden

Posted by Hanna Battah on Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2. Men Illegally Hunt Doves Out Of Blind Made From Marijuana Plants. 

Back in 2015, Oklahoma Game Wardens were alerted to the sound of shotgun blasts in agriculture field. Suspecting illegal dove hunters, the Wardens found 3 men indeed illegally hunting doves out of season and exceeding the legal limit for possession of birds.

A fairly standard poaching offense, except for the fact that the men were reportedly caught red handed shooting out of a hunting blind they had crafted from marijuana plants. The men were also in possession of marijuana, meth, and needles which they were arrested for.

It was unlike anything that Bill Hale, the Assistant Director of Law Enforcement for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation had ever witnessed before.

“I’ve never seen a case where they start early, have 50 extra dove, bait a field, hunt out of a marijuana blind. That actually sounds more like something you’d see in a story or a movie than it does real life.”

A field of green trees

3. Poachers Trespass Onto Game Wardens Land To Poach. 

In January of 2014, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries officer Kenneth Balkom was reportedly relaxing in his living around 11 pm when he heard an off road vehicle nearby. He then looked out the window and saw a group of men spotlighting his hayfield, presumably looking for deer to poach.

Balkom immediately slipped into his work uniform and slipped outside to meet the vehicle. The men were in illegal possession of three freshly-harvested rabbits, a spotlight, one rifle, one pistol and three shotguns.

All three men were charged with hunting rabbits during illegal hours, hunting from a moving vehicle and hunting from a public road.

One of them men was also charged with possession of marijuana, illegally carrying a weapon while in possession of marijuana and an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle.

4. Poacher Shoots $20,000 Deer Through High Fence. 

Dugan Traversie was awarded with the title “Dumbest Poacher of 2019” by MeatEater, an esteemed title that has landed him on this list as well.

5 days before rifle season in opened in South Dakota, Traversie got a head start by shooting a buck out of season. Not just any buck though, he shot through the fence of a high fence hunting operation and dropped a 28 point buck. He then climbed through the 8 foot barbwire fence, removed the head of the deer for photos, and left the carcass behind.

Considering it was a high money high fence operation, the deer was easily identifiable. It was already accounted for. A client had already pledged more than $20,000  to shoot that particular deer. When ranch hands went out scouting for the deer, all they found was its headless body.

By that time, images of Traversie with the buck had already gone viral on the internet which made this an easy crime to solved.

Traversie wound up accepting a plea deal that ordered him to pay the hunting ranch $9,000 for the deer.

5. Illegal Fisherman Tries To Escape On Unicycle, Gets Recognized. 

One of the first rules of committing crimes is having an inconspicuous get away vehicle, not something unique and readily identifiable. A man from Battle Creek, Michigan learned that lesson the hard way.

Back in April of 2017, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources received a tip off that a man was catching large mouth bass out of season and illegally trying to sell them. The tip also indicated that the man would not be hard to identify, as he would be only guy in town riding around on a unicycle with a stringer full of bass strung over his shoulder.

Sure enough, when DNR officers arrived on the scene they found a man riding a unicycle down the bike lane just several blocks from the lake. He had a stringer with three largemouth bass hooked up, no fishing license, and he readily admitted to illegally selling bass in the past.

6. Man Shoots Bear In Yard, Blames Actions On Leonardo DiCaprio Movie.

In 2016, a Missouri man spotted a black bear rummaging through a road side ditch across from his house. He responded by immediately shooting the bear and then attempted to hide its body.

He told investigators that he had just watched the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Revenant” and the site of the bear freaked him out, thinking it was a grizzly that might hurt his family.

7. Men Poach Elk On National Television.

Back in 2014, Ricky Mills and Jimmy Duncan of Kentucky were both busted by Wyoming Game and Fish after their poaching of two bull elk aired on national television.

At the time, the two men hosted a show on the Pursuit Channel titled “Hunting In The Sticks.” 

The only problem was, the sticks they were hunting in for this particular episode were not the sticks they claimed to be hunting in. While watching the episode, a Wyoming Game Warden noticed the terrain on the TV did not match the area the men said they were hunting.

The men were actually hunting more than 6 hours away from the management unit they had been drawn to hunt. Since it was apparent that this was an intentional act, and not an honest mistake, investigators dug deeper.

It was also revealed that the men had trespassed on private property to film their hunt, and one of the men also had poached a pronghorn antelope the year before without a license.

The two men reportedly lost their hunting privileges for 15 years and each had to pay nearly $7,500 in fines and another $6,000 in restitution each for the animals. The episode where they poached the bulls was quickly pulled from both TV and YouTube and ultimately they lost the contract for their show as well.

8. Indie Film Makers Poach Deer For Movie.

In 2012, the creative minds behind the independent film First Winter decided they needed to add some realism to their work. The film’s plot is focused on a group of Brooklyn hipsters surviving the winter in rugged upstate New York.

They weren’t aware that there is more to hunting than driving up to a field, hoping out and shooting a deer – so that’s just what they did. Except the deer the shot was standing next to another deer, and the bullet passed through the first deer and actually dropped a second as well.

Paul Manza, a yoga instructor who played a main character in the film, reportedly admitted to shooting a pair of deer without a license and outside of hunting season for a scene in the movie where at least one of the animals was skinned, cooked and eaten on camera.

The film’s director was honest and forthright about the mistakes that were made.

“We are idiots. We didn’t know how to do this hunting stuff.”

9. Anyone Who Shoots A Robo-Deer

One of the most tried and true tactics for catching poachers is the deployment of “robo-deer,” which are robotic deer made to imitate the real thing. Wardens routinely set these props up in easy to see areas in hopes of luring illegal road hunters into committing their illegal acts.

If you can’t identify a fake deer from a real deer, you don’t need to be trying to shoot deer anyways.

10. The Guy That Shot A Deer Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s Land & Got His Face Beat In

We told this story in great detail here, but long story short: Dale Sr. caught a guy shooting deer on his property and beat his face in for it. In fact, Dale broke his hand unleashing that can of whoopass on him.

“And when they got to the deer, dad just ran after the one with the gun and he tackled the guy and broke his hand on his face.

And the only reason why he stopped punching the guy was cuz the guy, he recognized the guys voice, and his face I guess, once he started saying ‘Hey man, stop’.”


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock