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About poaching..

spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,709 Captain
How naive am I about it?
I've come to believe one of the wma's I hunt is heavily poached.  Maybe both.  Romp and stomps.  I think it's so easy, and more commonly accepted, than I once believed.  I've talked to complete strangers, on the streets, casually boasting about shooting whenever and whatever they want.
How common do you think this on WMAs?  That a public land heavily hurt by poaching.  In four years, at places I rarely go a week or two without visiting, I've seen law enforcement only once.  I know law enforcement is spread thin.  But I wonder if this knowledge contributes to widespread poaching that can decimate certain properties.
Can anything be done to mitigate it??
There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
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Replies

  • JonsredfishinJonsredfishin Posts: 2,104 Captain
    You bored man? Lol. I think that you know the answers to your questions. 
    One president put a man on the moon.
    Another president put a man in the Lady's bathroom.
  • josh_scott84josh_scott84 ClearwaterPosts: 528 Officer
    I've wondered the same based on the same observations about LE. Also have had others tell me about only being stopped once in 30 years. I would think the two could contribute enough to embolden the individual whose already considering it.
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,650 Captain
    edited December 2019 #5
    Whatever the amount of illegally taking game animals is, my opinion is it pales in comparison to the amount of under sized / out of season / cast netted fish taken in Florida waters.
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,163 Captain
    edited December 2019 #6
    Thus the reason I don't like the "the rule will have an effect because most hunters are law abiding" argument. Maybe most hunters are law abiding, but most hunters aren't taking most of the deer. A small percentage of legal hunters take most of the legal deer, and its highly likely that an even smaller percentage of poachers take far more deer than all of the legal deer combined. A rule that isn't readily enforced against a handful of individuals that are killing most of the deer isn't going to be effective at changing the local herd.

    Take an area of 3,000 acres made up of several smaller leases hunted by 20 legal hunters. The statistics would suggest on 10 of those hunters will harvest, and 5 of those hunters will only kill one. So of 20 hunters, maybe 10 deer will be killed between them factoring in a couple of hunters will kill 3 or more.

    Now add the local poacher that goes slipping thru on his 4 wheeler year round and kills 20 deer a year off the road running thru the leases. That poacher is the local one-man deer management program. His actions, not the FWC or lease rules, is determining the direction of the deer herd. He's probably been doing it for years, so he isn't wiping the deer off the face of the earth otherwise there'd obviously be no deer left. The deer herd has adapted to him about like they would a resident panther. But he is making the State's and your management decisions meaningless. 
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 7,670 Admiral
    There is a cultural side to poaching in Florida that I think makes it more prevalent here than other places in the SE. Florida was a frontier state late into the 1900s, which makes it unique in that regard to the other lower 48 states and especially the states east of the Mississippi. Floridian woodsmen were living off the land several generations after settlers in other parts of the country had stopped doing so. It seemed odd and impractical to many Florida woodsmen to be told when someone could and could not collect wild meat for their families or make a few extra bucks harvesting and selling skins.

    These days I doubt few poaches are really poaching out of need. They mostly do it for fun and may or may not have a secondary financial motive to do so. I am familiar with a FWC investigation that was closed out with arrests a year or two ago that had recorded conversations between poachers in which they talked about taking and selling game and the risks and rewards involved. It amounted to them saying that they make as much money poaching wild game meat as they do selling drugs, but the consequences for getting caught are so minimal that its worth the risk forthe money award. 

    So yes, I think its very common, especially in the Big Bend and Eastern Panhandle regions. Places where deer are highly populated and its easy to pick one off here and there without anyone looking over your shoulder, and those are also the same places where the Florida backwoodsman culture still exists in some form or another. Although I think poaching today isn't so much a reflection of Cracker culture as it is an echo of the lawlessness of it but without the underlying necessity. 

    How much of an effect does it have in a given WMA? The internal FWC estimate for the Osceola is that the illegal take vastly outnumbers the legal take. But that groups in all of the sorts of poaching. Illegal baiting, AR violations, fire hunting, hunting out of season, ect. 

    A poacher that poaches 1 or 2 deer a year isn't having a major impact on the heard. It is the poachers that take 20-30 deer a year a piece that have a major impact. I do believe that kind of poacher exists in enough numbers that they are dominating the take in the localities they operate in. I don't believe ARs or bag limits will have a major effect in such localities unless that kind of poaching gets stopped. And I don't think it gets stopped by catching them in the act of fire hunting or trespassing, because that's nearly impossible to do with any reliability as to have a deterrent effect. 
    Well Said...
    I live in Taylor County , The Last Frontier. If you need Meat you go get some. I've talked to a few folks that pretty much eat Deer all Year , Pretty much every day.
    Shoot every Legal Buck they see in my Club and shoot pretty much every deer they need  anywhere else.
    I really don't think they kill Hundreds or anything , Maybe 20 total for the year ...and they eat all of them.
    Me I have a Wal Mart Credit Card and I like Shrimp  and such.
    Hogs are Free , and all year , And all over... I'm good
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 452 Deckhand
    So what’s the answer?

    If there is a small number of scofflaws having a major impact in the state’s ability to implement a plan to meet public desires, it would seem that it wouldn’t take a lot of cases to make a major difference. There are plenty of people who are aware of who the individuals in question are. It takes them being willing to share what they know with LE. 

    i. e. cultural change. 
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,650 Captain
    So what’s the answer?

    If there is a small number of scofflaws having a major impact in the state’s ability to implement a plan to meet public desires, it would seem that it wouldn’t take a lot of cases to make a major difference. There are plenty of people who are aware of who the individuals in question are. It takes them being willing to share what they know with LE. 

    i. e. cultural change. 


    Does there have to be an answer?  I mean people are driving 78 MPH on the Interstate all day long and the law is 70.  Go catch the guy doing 90 or in the case of poaching, the guy shooting a commercial amount of Deer.  I think that's the only way to go about it unless there happens to be the easy collar on someone who presents themselves to LEO. Resources are spread thin.

    I always scratch my head at the outrage over someone shooting a Mottled during early Teal season, as if its a capital crime. Its a duck for crying out loud.  Mistakes are made and Ive made plenty over 40+ years of hunting.

  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 452 Deckhand
    Only if you want a different outcome.

    Mistakes are a different topic. 
  • JonsredfishinJonsredfishin Posts: 2,104 Captain
    edited December 2019 #11
    There is a cultural side to poaching in Florida that I think makes it more prevalent here than other places in the SE. 
    I agree. I own a landscaping and lawn maintenance business. You wouldn’t believe the amount of 20 something yr. old white lazy kids that I go through. They all have hunting stickers on their trucks, but have never hunted, just tossed dogs. They’re constantly taking selfies for Snapchat, even on my equipment. They’ll work only until their bills are paid, nothing more. Flogrown stickers and white sunglasses are a red alert. I call them redneck millennials. My two best guys are in their 40’s. 
    One president put a man on the moon.
    Another president put a man in the Lady's bathroom.
  • TGunnTGunn Posts: 1,919 Captain
    I think the more regulations you have, the more poachers you will also have.  But I’m just talking about people who aren’t going to stick to the new rules, just the old rules they were used to. The “commercial poachers” Bullfrog is describing are a much more ominous threat. 

    I can’t even keep half the regulations straight in my head anymore.  Grouper season is ridiculous at this point. 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,429 AG
    Pinman said:
    Whatever the amount of illegally taking game animals is, my opinion is it pales in comparison to the amount of under sized / out of season / cast netted fish taken in Florida waters.
    and that is why we need gill nets back, fish size can be determined by mesh size.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 969 Officer
    Pinman said:
    Whatever the amount of illegally taking game animals is, my opinion is it pales in comparison to the amount of under sized / out of season / cast netted fish taken in Florida waters.
    I've gathered this just by reading the weekly fwc reports. The amount of people on waters in florida is massive.  Just putting a low number on this you would think for every person caught easily 10 or more people get away with same violations. 
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,709 Captain
    Well, and the weekly reports illustrate where all the resources are being allocated too.  And where I live, you can't go out on the water without seeing a presence.  Not uncommon to see fwc at any bridge or ramp in the area either.
    Definitely justified, just wish they were doing more to thwart poaching on wmas where there seems to be no efforts at all.


    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,709 Captain
    And ok, I can see where it is easily a widespread problem.  Let's concede that.  And let me rephrase things. 
    Is it possible that when we talk about the difficulties of hunting florida public land and talk about pressure.  Is the real 'pressure' from poachers?  Because oddly, I don't see crowds on the r&s like I do for the quotas.  Doesn't even sound as crowded as a lease to me.  I frequently have 500 acres or so all to myself for a day at a time.  Whereas the quota hunts I've experienced, I was run over with both people and animals..
    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • ChonggChongg Posts: 747 Officer
    Bullfrog, tell me more about poachers selling venison. I never knew there was a black market for that, let alone the potential for so much profit.
  • jmac7469jmac7469 Posts: 157 Deckhand
    We used to hunt osceola a few times a year. It was always a big achievement to harvest a deer out there. I'm pretty sure that place is deer hunted harder between April and August than it is during hunting season 
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 7,670 Admiral
    Folks around here don't really poach WMA's. They poach wherever the deer happens to be standing at.
    I had 2 does in my front yard this morning..if I wanted one nobody would ever know...but I like shrimp and Steaks and already have my venison for the year..and the Hogs , Theirs a bunch.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • bicyclistbicyclist FlardaPosts: 1,654 Captain
    There is a reason more deer are killed with .22's than any other gun....
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 969 Officer
    bicyclist said:
    There is a reason more deer are killed with .22's than any other gun....
    Must just be a cracker thing I can guarantee that's not the case in the handful of states I've hunted in. I know it goes on in every part of the country but from.spunds of things it's the norm not the exception down here. Guess it just makes anything and everything fwc does to try and help completely useless.  Cant have 25% of population following laws and 75% depleting all resources how they see fit and expect to see any improvements with anything  Big waste of time. Harvest reports show 229 bucks checked in for all of ocala forest to date  In a place that's 375,000+acres thats like 1 deer for every 1500-2000acres.  Probably more like 1 deer checked 10-15 poached in that area. 
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 7,670 Admiral
    sounds like Big Cypress on a good day without Poachers..
    I don't think Poachers are making a big dent in the deer numbers...50 million people and low deer numbers , Poor habitat is most likely to blame.
    Lot's of deer were never there to begin with...
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,429 AG
    zimmy4209 said:
    bicyclist said:
    There is a reason more deer are killed with .22's than any other gun....
    Must just be a cracker thing I can guarantee that's not the case in the handful of states I've hunted in. I know it goes on in every part of the country but from.spunds of things it's the norm not the exception down here. Guess it just makes anything and everything fwc does to try and help completely useless.  Cant have 25% of population following laws and 75% depleting all resources how they see fit and expect to see any improvements with anything  Big waste of time. Harvest reports show 229 bucks checked in for all of ocala forest to date  In a place that's 375,000+acres thats like 1 deer for every 1500-2000acres.  Probably more like 1 deer checked 10-15 poached in that area. 
    you hunt Ga, lot of deer poached in Ga.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,429 AG
    all this bs but.....

    I can remember when seeing a deer track was a magical moment here in west central Fl and in sw Ga..
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • JonsredfishinJonsredfishin Posts: 2,104 Captain
    Folks around here don't really poach WMA's. They poach wherever the deer happens to be standing at.
    I had 2 does in my front yard this morning..if I wanted one nobody would ever know...but I like shrimp and Steaks and already have my venison for the year..and the Hogs , Theirs a bunch.
    When I belonged to your club some of Sandhills dogs would somehow usually start out their day across the street in the tide swamp wma lol   
    One president put a man on the moon.
    Another president put a man in the Lady's bathroom.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 969 Officer
    ANUMBER1 said:
    zimmy4209 said:
    bicyclist said:
    There is a reason more deer are killed with .22's than any other gun....
    Must just be a cracker thing I can guarantee that's not the case in the handful of states I've hunted in. I know it goes on in every part of the country but from.spunds of things it's the norm not the exception down here. Guess it just makes anything and everything fwc does to try and help completely useless.  Cant have 25% of population following laws and 75% depleting all resources how they see fit and expect to see any improvements with anything  Big waste of time. Harvest reports show 229 bucks checked in for all of ocala forest to date  In a place that's 375,000+acres thats like 1 deer for every 1500-2000acres.  Probably more like 1 deer checked 10-15 poached in that area. 
    you hunt Ga, lot of deer poached in Ga.
    No never have  I know poaching goes on in every part of country. _ell there were couple times growing up I witnessed it first hand and never did anything about it.Guess that makes me just as guilty. I'm sure theres alot of people in certain pockets of state that dont even consider themselves hunters but shoot a deer to put meat on table for there families. Better than having kids starve. I dont even really have a big list of experience in other parts of country just NY,PA,MD,VA,FL and 1 or 2 times in NC only NY and VA extensively.  Theres definitely poaching going on but not the whole ".22 killing more deer than any other gun" scenario. If your gonna poach a deer I guess atleast have _alls to use a real gun😆
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 5,359 Admiral
    edited December 2019 #27
    A friend of mine runs plantation security inc. There is a good amount of poaching in north Florida , but much more in South Georgia. Most of the poaching he deals with on plantations involve the decapitated carcass of a huge buck. All they take is the head
    You should have been here yesterday
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,709 Captain
    Are there many poachers that don't care about meat? Or do people take horns from road kill?
    Couple months ago saw 2 carcasses on the road. Within a mile of each other. Circled back to have a look. Each missing just the head. Not skinned or strapped.
    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • meateatermeateater south flaPosts: 515 Officer
    more thrill kill happening on wmas down south than actual poaching      same thing i know but pisses me off even more,    same as the guys who shoot a buck in late afternoon then decide not to track till the morning cause maybe they might jump the deer and cause it to run off further     knowing that the meat will be wasted or coyotes will find it but gotta get those big antlers. QDM at its finest. 
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,163 Captain
    Chongg said:
    Bullfrog, tell me more about poachers selling venison. I never knew there was a black market for that, let alone the potential for so much profit.
    The poacher lines up a buyer and sells it in quick meeting at whatever price seems reasonable to the buyer. The buyer can be a little old lady who wants a few weeks worth of red meat for less than the price of beef per pound. So she’s getting a better deal than what she gets at the grocery and the poacher is still making $100-$200 off of meat alone. 

    spangler said:
    Are there many poachers that don't care about meat? Or do people take horns from road kill?
    Couple months ago saw 2 carcasses on the road. Within a mile of each other. Circled back to have a look. Each missing just the head. Not skinned or strapped.
    There are, but I don’t think that’s a Florida thing. That’s a “I want people to think I’m an awesome hunter” thing. Maybe also financial to the extent that mounts of big bucks sell for a lot. But Florida deer don’t often make racks that someone will buy for more than the cost of mounting it. 
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 3,163 Captain
    .22s are the gun of choice for firehunters because they can be made quiet without a suppressor and its either a brain shot with no tracking or a wounded or missed deer that just goes away if unharvested. 

    If you’ve never shot a .22 subsonic or .22 short out of a long barreled rifle, try it and see how quiet they can be. Rounds shooting 900fps and less will be significantly more quiet than ones that are only barely subsonic. 
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