Fight poaching by supporting the Wildlife Violator Compact in your state. Wildlife officials estimate as many animals are poached annually as killed legally - an appalling thought when you consider the impact on wildlife populations. To combat this, ethical hunters need to support anti-poaching efforts that have the teeth to severely punish violators and prevent nonresident poachers from escaping justice by simply crossing state lines. Here's one program that does just that - the Wildlife Violator Compact. This interstate compact was created in the early 1980s when member states of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies began discussions aimed at punishing law breakers who cross state lines. Finally, in 1989, three states (Oregon, Nevada and Colorado) passed legislation and formed the nucleus for what has now become a network of 30 states that have joined the Wildlife Violator Compact. The way the compact works is that hunters who lose hunting license privileges in one compact member state also lose them in all of the other participating states. Data covering only a four-year period from 2004 through 2007 show over 11,000 suspensions!
This weapon enhances the ability of law enforcement officers to obtain justice in the war against poachers and other violators. More importantly, as more "bad guys" become aware of the risks and more states join the compact, its deterrent value should increase. Twenty states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, as well as many on the East Coast, still have not signed the compact. I urge you to visit www.iowadnr.com/law/iwvcmap.html and check whether your state is a member. If it is not, contact your fish and game department and urge them to join. There is simply no excuse for not hitting these violators with the greatest possible penalties.