Idaho Sting Nets Would-be Poachers

The Outdoor Newshound has offered evidence in the past that game law violators aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, but a story out of Idaho only reinforces the premise that poachers are basically, well--numbskulls.

And above all, one should never, ever confuse them with hunters and sportsmen.

Chances are you’ve read reports about how various state game agencies occasionally place game animal decoys in strategic woodland locations to see if potential lawbreakers will take the bait and show their disrespect and negligence of game and hunting regulations. Some agencies regularly utilize elaborate, remote-controlled robotic deer for stakeouts in areas where poaching and illegal spotlighting is suspected.

If they’re lucky, agency law enforcement officers will catch the game thieves in the act of committing a violation, and obtain ample eyewitness evidence to bring charges against the bums.

Elk

Well, in the past couple of weeks, agents with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game got more than they bargained for in a sting operation near Coeur d’Alene. There, game and forest service authorities used an immobile, life-sized bull elk decoy to nab 15 would-be poachers and write citations for 20 violations.

The first two-day operation on Nov. 10 and 11 netted eight poachers, with an encore performance the following week catching seven more.

You’d think word would have gotten around after the first eight ne’er-do-wells were collared. (Further proof we’re not dealing with rocket scientists here, folks.)

Violations included attempting to take wildlife out of season, shooting from a vehicle, shooting from a road, aiding and abetting a minor, and alcohol possession.

Regional IFG enforcement officer Craig Walker told the Coeur d’Alene Press some of those arrested in this month’s operations exhibited dogged determination while committing their particular infraction.

“I witnessed people shoot four to five times at an animal that’s not moving,” he said. “They typically respond by trying to reload and shoot again.”

IFG spokesman Chip Corsi said the agency would likely keep repeating the operation as long as the local supply of wildlife scofflaws continues to provide work for the court system.

“(It caught) more people than we were thinking it would,” Corsi said. “It’s remarkable.”

Remarkable—in a disgusting kind of way.