every possible direction. According to the DNR, the deer had illegally been
harvested in Grundy County, but a thorough investigation of this particular case
uncovered more startling facts. Over a 10-year period, the three men
(Christopher Kiernana, Garret Armstrong and Larry Smith) had unlawfully
harvested a total of 24 deer across the state of Illinois and Canada, according
to the DNR.
A joint-effort by the IDNR, New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Alberta Sustainable Resources
Department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of
Conservation, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks led to the arrest of all
three individuals on numerous wildlife related charges.
The men that were involved in this 10-year poaching ring were residents of
Illinois, New York and Canada. They received a variety of Wildlife Code
violations ranging from unlawful possession of illegally taken deer, falsifying
harvest records, hunting without the permission of the landowner and numerous
other major charges. The case is still under investigation, so the DNR is not
releasing more specific details.
According to Rafael Gutierrez, the IDNR Conservation Police Chief, poaching
is a serious matter in Illinois and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest
extent of the law. “The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement has zero tolerance when
it comes to poaching matters. Our Conservation Police will continue to protect
our natural resources so that legal sportsmen get every opportunity they
deserve,” he says.
Without question, poaching can be one of the biggest problems that legal and
ethical hunters face each season. Over the years, I’ve covered several
heartbreaking stories that involved a legitimate hunter losing a trophy buck to
a poacher. Some of these hunters spent countless hours scouting, hanging
trail-cameras and re-positioning stands, but were robbed of their much-deserved
opportunity by an illegal act.
On that note, do you feel your state’s current poaching penalties are
enforced and strict enough or should they be increased and enforced more?