Several hunting outfitters and clients are in hot water over poaching and other wildlife violations in Kansas, Colorado and Utah. Here at The Hunting Report, it's our job to report on news of interest to traveling hunters worldwide. Frankly, our favorite part of the job is passing along detailed information on hunting opportunities and helping subscribers decide whether or not a particular hunt is right for them. But, we also report "hard news" that directly affects the hunting community. Sadly, this sometimes includes reports of laws broken, ongoing investigations, charges filed and convicted lawbreakers punished. This month we have news to report on two separate cases of wildlife violations from the US in which the investigation into wrongdoing by the outfitter or guide is drawing clients into the realm of possible charges. Needless to say, these cases are sending ripples through the hunting world. In one of these cases, it's quite possible that, IF laws were indeed violated (we pay more than lip service to the concept of "innocent until proven guilty"), at least some of the hunters involved may not have known that their guides or outfitters were leading them astray. In the other case, the outfitter and one guide are now convicted felons and, as we went to press, two clients had been indicted on federal felony charges.
In the process of preparing this story, we interviewed John Brooks, the Special Agent for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in charge of investigating the Kansas case we'll outline below. Brooks, who is himself a hunter, told us, "We all expect our guides or outfitters to know what the laws are, but it's ultimately the hunter's responsibility to stay within the law. The hunter may be ignorant that a crime is being committed, but that doesn't detract from the fact that any crime committed in ignorance is still prosecutable under the law."
Our position here at The Hunting Report is that no trophy is worth risking prosecution. With so much information, including permit and tagging requirements, hunting zone boundaries and wildlife regulations readily available on the web, there's no........(continued)