Poachers - Get Ready for Stiffer Fines in Ohio

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Legislation raising the restitution value of wildlife taken illegally took effect March 3rd, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

"The new standard reflects the present-day value of Ohio's wildlife," said Jim Lehman, law enforcement administrator for the Division of Wildlife. "The monetary value of most of our wildlife can range anywhere from $20 to nearly $2,500, depending on criteria and weighting factors. Trophy deer are an exception; their value can range much higher."

The new restitution schedule stems from legislation (HB238) passed by the Ohio General Assembly last year. House Bill 238 revised provisions governing the restitution value of wild animals that are unlawfully held, taken, bought, sold or possessed. It is the first revision since 1994 and establishes a formula that reflects the current status and scarcity of various species.

Seven categories of value make up the new scoring criteria:

  • * recreational,
  • * aesthetic,
  • * educational,
  • * state-list designation,
  • * economics,
  • * recruitment, and
  • * population dynamics.

The new restitution values of wild animals taken illegally will result from the total score for each of the seven criteria. The criteria total is then multiplied by the weighting factor of species population status. An animal that is considered abundant has a lower weighting factor than does an endangered species.

The chart above shows some examples comparing updated versus previous restitution values.

The legislation also addressed increased values for "trophy" white-tailed deer. An additional progressive formula will be applied to bucks with a gross score more than 125 inches on the Boone and Crocket (B&C) scale. Antlered deer scoring under 125 B&C would be valued at $500. Poached deer scoring 125 B&C would have a restitution value of $1,531.25; 150 B&C would result in $4,625 restitution value; and a 170 B&C would call for a $8,585 restitution value.

Former State Representative Bob Latta and State Representative Jimmy Stewart sponsored the new legislation. Governor Ted Strickland signed it into law on December 3.

For more information, call 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or visit www.wildohio.com.