Poachers are low on my list for sympathy. They simply don’t respect the rules, the animals, other hunters, and they bring a bad reputation to all of hunting.
The rules and regulations are monitored vigorously regardless of where you are hunting and they are in place for a reason. Bag limits are completely based off of population size and health.
Poachers completely disregard these rules and selfishly decide to harvest an animal illegally… and that’s why many wind up in jail, losing their right to hunt, and paying BIG fines.
Idaho Fish & Game Enforcement released a statement about a poacher after the 3-year investigation was conducted to convict Paul D. Coward on various wildlife related charges.
Dave Overman, Conservation Officer with Idaho Fish & Game had this to say about the efforts.
“Fish and Game enforcement officers said often the most serious and intentional poaching cases are the hardest to crack.
These types of investigations are typically time consuming and complex, but necessary in order to protect Idaho’s big game resources, all while providing for game management and the recreational opportunities for law-abiding sportsmen in the community.”
Clearly this was the case for Coward. The 3-year investigation spanned 23 years of complaints from concerned hunters, and he pled guilty to guiding without a license, illegally hunting over bait, conspiracy to provide illegal services, and possessing wildlife taken illegally, and unlawful possession of firearms.
The judge was incredibly creative with the sentencing. Part of the deal was Coward had to serve 90 days in jail, the judge set the dates in 30 day increments spanning over the next three elk hunting seasons.
Elk archery season runs for the month of September, so for 2022, 2023 and 2024 Coward will be in jail. This was done due to the majority of his crimes being committed at that time.
Coward has also lost hunting privileges for 10 years and racked up $16,000 in fines. An additional $10,000 fine was given for illegally possessing a mountain goat which he harvested in a Washington and hid at his Idaho home.
The law came down rightfully hard on this one, and justice was served.