(Host) Vermont’s healthy deer population has drawn more poachers this year.
Colonel Robert Rooks is Vermont’s chief game warden.
(Rooks) “It’s an opportunist type of violation. And, essentially we have a larger population of deer, especially visible deer and bucks with antlers. What we like to say is we have more deer, we have more problems. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing, is that the opportunity for individuals that choose to poach is there and they’re taking advantage of it.”
(Host) In the span of a week in mid-October, Fish and Wildlife wardens arrested 14 people in three different poaching cases.
Authorities say the suspects in those cases all used lights to spot deer that were shot.
Rooks says the state’s 40 full-time and 30 part-time wardens rely on the public for catching up with poachers.
He says all three of the cases from earlier this month were reported by members of the public.
(Rooks) “We’re encouraging people to make that phone call if they are aware of somebody poaching deer or anybody poaching deer or any type of fish and wildlife illegal activity that they notify us by calling their local state police barracks dispatch, or they can call our operation game thief phone line.”
(Host) Penalties for taking wildlife illegally can be steep. Violations carry a potential 60-day jail sentence. The law also allows the state to confiscate firearms or vehicles and to ban someone from fishing or hunting for three years.