Greetings all -
Reading about these recent poaching cases makes me sick and its obvious from reading the threads here I gather others feel the same. I've been thinking about the issue and possible solutions ... no easier answers. Questions I'm noodling on:
(1) Are the courts too lenient and the punishments too low? My sense is these factors don't matter much since these criminals aren't thinking about these risks in the first place.
(2) What percentage of the crimes go undiscovered vs. discovered without suspects vs. discovered with without suspects vs. discovered with suspects but without sufficient evidence vs. discovered with successful convictions? I fear the percentage of total incidents that gets successfully prosecuted is in the low single digits.
(3) Are the rewards offered through Operation Game Thief, etc. large enough to make an impact? I'm on the fence. I'd like to think that the vast majority of people who come forward do so because its the right thing to do.
(4) Can more be done through education and press coverage to drive up the "shame" deterent? For comparison, I wonder what the trend has been in dog fighting since Michael Vick's conviction. Would seeing some poacher perp walks on the local evening news have an impact on other would-be poachers? Should those perp walk videos be replayed in every hunter safety class? Why do we never see CDOW using their TV advertising to target poaching in the same way the police agencies target drunk driving?
(5) Is CDOW's investigative capability underfunded? Should it's investigation efforts and reward coffers be given a $ boost from outside sources?
Thanks for reading this and any comments you care to share. I'd like to suggest that we channel the rage we all feel towards something constructive.